How to build teak boat swim platforms

Updated July 20, 2017

Boats are fun. There is no debating that. But how do you make a boat more fun? A swim or dive platform. A platform makes for easy entry to and from the water. The platform can even add appearance and value to your boat, but it has to be done correctly and with durable materials. Teak is an attractive, durable material, if slightly expensive, to use for your platform.

Measure the width of the stern of your boat. The platform does not have to extend to the entire stern width, but it adds to the stability and appearance if it does. Next, measure the teak sections and mark at the desired length. Also measure the sections and mark at 1/4 the desired length.

Cut the wood and arrange. The pieces that you measured at 1/4 of the length should be placed between the pieces that are the full length, with three per row. This will leave a gap of 1/8 the length in two places every other row, allowing for drainage without weakening the structural integrity. Take this time to consider any angle on the stern. If it is angled, measure the triangle that you need to cut to make the deck fit flush. Shape it with the box plane.

Measure and cut the teak sections for the frame. The sections should run the full length of the deck on the front and back and the full width of the areas that are not open by the gaps described in Step 2. These pieces will be attached to the underside of the deck when it is assembled.

Drill at least two pilot holes through the teak pieces for every piece that it is going to connect to. Also drill a hole with a wider bit than the screw head to be used about 1/8 or an inch deep. This is called a countersink and will keep the screws below the surface of the wood, thus not damaging the fit. Apply the marine glue or epoxy to the pieces and attach with the screws. Apply clamps while glue dries. Wipe away any excess glue from the surface.

Sand the surface of the deck and round any edges to prevent wear cracking. Apply any oil, varnish, stain, or varnish desired. Apply a layer of sealant designed for marine use to protect your deck.

Attach the deck to the boat. If you are not using hand rails, you will need to attach a support on each side, and one in the middle if over 4 feet in width, on the bottom. If using hand rails, attach the rail from the desired point on the stern to the outside edge of the deck. Again, if your deck is over four feet wide, attach one to the centre as well. Also screw the deck into the stern of the boat and seal with caulk, no matter which method you use.


You can make your deck removable by attaching a removable pin and pin hinge to the stern or able to be lifted by installing a piano hinge and supports that will rest against the stern. Always use brass or bronze screws in marine construction to avoid corrosion and rust.


Always wear proper protective gear when working with wood including eye and ear protection to avoid potentially serious injury caused by flying debris. Whenever on the water, be sure to have proper personal flotation devices and life jackets.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Teak strips: 1x1 for the deck and 1x6 for the frame
  • Saw
  • Box plane
  • Drill
  • Brass or bronze screws
  • Glue or epoxy (marine specific)
  • Clamps
  • Fine grain sand paper
  • Stain sealant and varnish (recommended)
  • Hand rails (recommended)
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About the Author

Adrian Traylor began writing professionally in 2008. His work has been seen in various conference publications and academic journals including "Eyes on the ICC." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a Master of Arts in international negotiation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a L.L.M. in international law from the University of Edinburgh.