It’s almost Father’s Day, so hand the laptop over to the Dad in your household. This post is for him.

The “nice wolf” (a.k.a. husband) has been requesting that I post about jetties for months. He has a boat obsession to rival my house obsession. (Okay, slight exaggeration.) One of the reasons that we bought our block on the canal is that my husband would like to be a sailor. At the age of 7, he sailed with his parents, from Darwin (N.T.) to Paris and ever since he’s dreamt of boats. Our particular part of the canal is catamaran friendly. There are no bridges between our canal and the sea. Ultimately, (read “retirement goal”,) my husband would like a catamaran large enough to sail the family around the top half of Australia, but for the near future he’ll be very happy with a little motor vessel that can fit an esky, a few crab pots and the three little pigs.

So let’s talk jetties….

Fixed or floating?  L shaped, T shaped, finger shaped, land-backed?  Wood or steel?

Fixed jetties:

Advantages of fixed jetties:

  • Cheaper than floating (to be confirmed.)
  • Good looking.
  • No movement = less opportunities to go wrong???
  • Won’t tilt with heavy loads.

Floating jetties:Floating jetty.

Advantages of floating jetties:

  • Easy to board/load boats regardless of the tide.
  • Easy to moor boat.
  • Less strain on lines and cleats.
  • Won’t submerge during storm surges.
  • Partly transferrable, for example, if you move up the street or give up boating and decide to sell the jetty.

Note: tidal variation in Mandurah is less than 0.75m.

You can tell I’m flailing here.  My research into the pros and cons of floating and fixed jetties has mostly lead me to other parts of the world that either have much greater tidal variation or are exposed to stormy weather.  Neither have I been able to establish likely costs.  I sent a few email queries, but I think jetty builders are old-fashioned telephone types!

Jetty shapes:L and T shaped jetties. Finger jetty and land-backed jetty.

These options and jetty size limits are taken from “Jetties and Moorings” by the City of Mandurah.  Some shapes offer greater mooring flexibility than others.  For example, once you’ve moored a big boat on the land-backed jetty, you’re not going to be able to accommodate anything else.

Our mooring envelope looks like this:

The outer square shows our mooring envelope

The outer square shows our mooring envelope, with the inner square being the jetty envelope.

So Boaties!  We need help.  Which jetty type do you think is best for mooring a 40ft catamaran in the Mandurah canals?  It should also allow access for a couple of surf-skis or maybe the boat of friends, dropping by for dinner.  What do you think it might cost?  Throw a ball-park figure at me, we are starting from scratch.

(Edit:  News just in!  I did get a reply from a company specialising in floating jetties.  First rough guess, with a few variables, the most obvious being size, is $40-50K.)

And for those you who might be less concerned about the boat, how does this tickle your fancy?

Picture sources:  1. Pinterest (original source not found).  2.  10 Travel 10 Nature.


20 thoughts on “Jetties

  1. So I can’t be much help here because I don’t have a lot of experience with docks or boats. But I like the look for the T jet tie… and I LOVE the dock hammock! 🙂 It seems liker the fixed dock might be the way to go AS LONG AS your area doesn’t get storms very often.

  2. trixee says:

    I’ll preface this by saying that I know nothing about the practicalities of jetties. But I do think the fixed one looks nicer than the floating one. Also, the floating one to me seems to be wobbly and I’d be afraid of losing my footing – might be a consideration for elderly people.
    I love the classic simplicity of the finger jetty, but the T-shaped one looks very practical.

    As for the dock hammock, omg it’s divine! I’m sure you can sneak that into a T or L-shaped jetty somehow… 🙂

    • You could be right about the wobbles Trixee, which kinda counteracts the boarding benefit of the floating jetty being at a consistent height in relation to the boat. Given the price info so far, I’m thinking that keeping it simple is going to be a good idea. As for the hammock, a couple of well placed hooks is all that will be required!

  3. Rita says:

    Hi Johanne
    I have been waiting for this post as I do recall discussing this with “nice wolf” at the very beginning of time… and now I’m grinning…. It’s happened!
    Personally I like the finger jetty; its simple and unobtrusive of the divine views that you will enjoy on a daily basis.
    Also of course; in case you had forgotten… A lovely spot to sit with a nice vino and watch the dolphins playing and fishing in the canal on a balmy summers evening.

    • Hi Rita, It’s so nice to know you are still reading! I haven’t forgotten – I’m thinking stability could be important for wine drinking! I hope you will come past for a drink when it’s all done.

      • Rita says:

        Of course I follow every word & try and keep me away! Actually I had a sneaky peek the other day! Looking good..
        I spend a bit of time in Mandurah so can’t help myself. After all I’ve been living the dream with you right thru…

  4. Alan says:

    Hi Johanne

    We have so much in common with you guys.
    We live in New Zealand and also have a section on a canal. We too have plans to build a house – just about underway if we can stop the costs running away from us!!
    Difference is we have an existing jetty and we already have the catamaran – a Leopard 39.
    Our jetty is L shaped and floating – not that we had any choice in the matter.
    Big consideration is the width of the jetty for docking. Allow at least 2 m greater than width of your catamaran. Reason is that cats are very susceptible to being moved by the wind when docking – can be quite hairy!!
    Good luck – love to share with you our story once we start. Our plans are already approved by council…

    • Welcome Alan and lucky you! We’ve admired a couple of Leopards at boat shows. It’s great to have your input. Thank you. Yes docking cats makes me nervous. Your comment about the wind makes me think that a fixed jetty might be best. Our jetty envelope allows a maximum width of 10.5 m. Do you recommend 2 metres greater than the width of the boat or length? I look forward to hearing more about your build.

      • Alan says:

        Hi Johanne

        I mean 2 metres greater than the width.

        10.5 m is great, I’ve only got 8 m. A normal 40′ cat will be about 22′ wide, which is ~ 6.7 m – so if you go for 10.5 you’ll have heaps of room – this is good!

  5. mariashumptydoo says:

    Isn’t it great to have in your backyard the gate to dreams and other adventures!

    Sorry no idea about jetties! The only thing I know is that a powerful engine on board of a yacht is the key for easy docking. Our engine on Ace was sadly ineffective!

  6. The beauty of the floating jetty is it fluctuates heights with the tides and therefore relieves the stress on how the holding ropes are adjusting to the changing sea levels. The down side is the price tag with the wooden jetty’s generally being cheaper and considered to be more attractive to look at from an entertainment area. The covenants will generally state how big you can build one and with a 40foot catamaran it will need to be substantial. The width options are also to be considered and I personally went for a wooden T shaped jetty but with a 2metre width so crabbing and fishing off it is easier. The installers will be have the detailed knowledge you require as they are building them every day and am sure will guide you through the process. Hope that helps. Jennifer Watt.

    • Thanks Jennifer for the information. I will get some serious quotes and information from the experts down the track. We are just testing the waters, so to speak. It helps get an idea of what we might need and when we’ll be able to afford it.

  7. Miranda says:

    Your own jetty! This is an incredible project we’re watching unfold.
    And that’s some serious boating you have planned. I’m not sure how you’ll tear yourself away from the house to get that much time in the boat…
    My parents own a 38ft boat and I’m trying to remember my experience with jetties. I can’t recall using floating jetties much. But I don’t think we had problems with the different heights of a fixed jetty at different tides. There are much trickier things than that in boating, and if you can handle all the rest, I’m sure the fixed jetty height will be fine!

    • So sensible Miranda! The serious boating will be a few years away. My kids will be old enough to be the first mate and I can stay home with the house to myself if so inclined!

  8. jo, i like fixed, the tide variation won’t be a problem in mandurah and less chance of spilling your champers on way to/from the boat.
    in other news; we sold grosvenor st last night st auction! yay. price….ok, though you always want more. also, finally some life at bottom of garden with tennants in tandoor, but the kids are a bit young to be if use to us.

  9. Africadayz says:

    Perhaps your husband got his adventurous spirit while sailing from Darwin to Paris at the age of 7…. You have a very interesting family. I’m afraid I know nothing about jetties. They all look like fun!

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