Your cart is empty

Free Swim Raft Wood Plans

Spend a day swimming on the lake with these swim raft wood plans!  If you like it, be sure to come back for more. Thanks to our customer Jay N. for creating this plan and submitting to us!


Free Swim Raft Wood Plans
Free Swim Raft Wood Plans
Bringing a new level of fun to a day on the lake

This leisure wood plan shows you how to building a floating swim raft that's safe and fun to use in calm waters.  Please enjoy this nice set of free wood plans! 
 Please make sure you check out our custom shed plans in our shed plans package before you leave our site and see if they meet your needs as well.  Our shed plans package has thousands of wood plans just like this, not just shed plans!

free swim raft wood plans

To me, swimming has always seemed a rather pointless pastime. Frankly, I need to be going somewhere. I mean, when I get on my mountain bike and head out from the cottage, I’m either bound for Ardbeg on Hwy. 520, or Wolf Lake via the old snowmobile trail. When I strap on the skis, I’ll likely end up at Maple Lake. But when I get in the water, there is no place to go; I can barely make it to Uncle Rob’s dock, let alone Miller’s Point, so I’m left aimlessly paddling around. To an obsessive/compulsive guy like me, it seems rather immoral to simply wander around without somewhere to go. If I am just going to paddle around 15 or 20 yards from the dock, then I might as well get out and haul gravel. Truly, I envy people like my wife, who effortlessly glides through the water and cares not for destination. For her – and those of you like her – strange as it might seem to my kind, the act of swimming itself appears to have an inherent reward.

However, I’ve considered that a swim raft could be the answer to my needs as a swimmer of limited ability and a man who likes to have a destination. If I had a swim raft anchored out from shore, I could stroll down to the dock, secure in the knowledge that I was headed somewhere once I hit the water. But it is one of those projects I simply never got around to doing. (Rebuilding the driveway or finishing the ceilings seem to push into my time-space continuum.)  I finally decided that a swim raft is a great place for kids to play, or adults to soak up the sun, so here we go.

Free Swim Raft Wood Plans
(Right Click on Image, and Select View as Image or Save As to See the FULL SIZE Picture)

free swim raft wood plans

Free Swim Raft Wood Plans
(Right Click on Image, and Select View as Image or Save As to See the FULL SIZE Picture)

free swim raft wood plans
Free Swim Raft Wood Plans
(Right Click on Image, and Select View as Image or Save As to See the FULL SIZE Picture)


1 -- 4" x 4" x 6' (corner posts)
4 -- 2" x 8" x 8' (deck-frame stringers)
2 -- 2" x 8" x 6' (deck-frame headers)
4 -- 2" x 6" x 6' (cross members)
2 -- 2" x 6" x 8' (skirt stringers)
2 -- 2" x 6" x 6' (skirt headers)
2 -- 2" x 6" x 8' (skids)
1 -- 2" x 4" x 14' (ladder)
9 -- 5⁄4" x 6" x 12' rounded-edge decking
2 -- 10" x 20" x 8' Styrofoam flotationbillets
5 lbs -- 3" #8 outdoor screws
16 -- 3⁄8" x 6" outdoor carriage bolts,washers, and nuts
8 -- 1⁄2" x 16" galvanized carriage bolts, washers, and nuts
1 -- heavy-duty galvanized eyebolt,washer, and nut

We decided that 6' x 8' would be an ideal size for a swimming raft. (At this size, it might not be as stable as, say, a floating dock, but isn’t tippiness an admirable design feature for those king-of-the-raft battles?) The raft was built with Western red cedar framing and decking, and put together with rust-proof hardware, and green outdoor “deck” screws instead of nails. All holes were predrilled. For flotation, we used Dow Styrofoam Buoyancy Billets, which were through-bolted to the raft’s frame. To keep costs down, we didn’t wrap the billets in black polyethylene sheeting and galvanized hardware cloth, as is usually recommended to protect them from critter damage; and we eschewed the heavy-duty galvanized hardware that the best floating docks are built with. After all, this is a swimming raft, not a parking spot for some mahogany classic. This project is fairly straightforward – suitable for a beginner or intermediate DIYer – and shouldn’t take more than 6–8 hours to complete.

— For this project, 75% of the assembly is completed with the raft upside down. Begin by cutting the 4" x 4" corner posts and the 2" x 8" stringers and headers. If you’re a careful reader, you’re probably asking yourself why the headers are 71-1⁄2" instead of 72" long. (See materials list.) Originally, I had cut them to 72", but then discovered that the 5⁄4" x 6" rounded-edge deck material that I had ordered in 12' lengths was exactly that: 144". Nothing to spare for trimming and saw kerf. So I had to go back and cut the headers 1⁄2" shorter to compensate. (The 5⁄4" rounded-edge decking was chosen because it’s more than adequately strong for our raft, and it sure looks a lot better than 2" x 6"s.)

To facilitate drilling and assembly I secured each corner post, in turn, to a stringer with a short bar clamp; I then repeated the procedure for the headers. (If you don’t have bar clamps, you could always screw the frame members together at the corners and then attach the posts.) Attach the corner posts to the stringers and headers with the 3⁄8" x 6" carriage bolts.

— Cut four 2" x 6" cross members to a length of 71-1⁄2". (The flotation billets are bolted to the cross members.) At this point, check the deck-frame structure for square; the length of the diagonals should be equal. Screw the cross members to the deck-frame stringers. When locating the screws at the end of the cross members, do not measure in 3⁄4" (to the dead center of the stringer). Instead, mea sure in 11⁄4" and angle the screws slightly out. This avoids splitting the ends of the boards.

— Next, cut the 2" x 6" skirt stringers to length and attach them to the corner posts. (The skirt stringers should rest on the cross members.)  Cut the 2" x 6" skirt headers to length (they should be 71-1⁄2", but expect some minor variations) and attach them to the corner posts. Next, drive screws on an angle down through the outside of the skirt stringer and into each cross member. The purpose of the skirt is to protect the flotation billets from damage. I trimmed the billets with a handsaw to 95", leaving a 1⁄2" gap at either end, and notched them to accept the corner posts.

— Trim the 2" x 6" skids to a length of 95" with a 30° bevel at each end. The skids secure the billets to the cross members, protect the flotation, and make it easier to pull the raft out of the water for winter.

Once the billets and skids are positioned, you can simplify drilling and bolting them by using a couple of long bar clamps. I placed two 6' 2" x 4"s across the skids above the two centre cross members and then used the clamps to squeeze the skids down onto the billets and to hold everything in place. At each end of both skids, drill a 1⁄2" hole down through the skid, the billet, and the cross member. (An extension rod for the drill bit is necessary for this task.) Note that the holes are offset along the length of the skids. (See diagram.) Tap four 1⁄2" x 16" galvanized carriage bolts down through the holes, add washers and nuts, and bolt tight. (This is not a fun job, as the space is very tight.) By the way, these large bolts can be difficult to find in your local hardware store.

Remove the bar clamps and 2" x 4"s, drill the four remaining holes, slide the bolts into the holes, and add the washers and nuts. (No need to tighten, as you can do this when the raft is inverted.) While the raft is still upside down, add a galvanized eyebolt to one of the cross members to provide an anchor attachment.

— Now it’s time to flip the raft over. Forget the macho stuff and call in a helper or two. Then tighten up the four remaining 1⁄2" bolts. Trim (and I mean slightly) the ends of the 5⁄4" x 6" x 12' decking and cut to length. Predrill with a countersinking bit, and screw the deck boards to the deck frame assembly using the ever-popular 3" #8 outdoor screws, angling them outward as with the cross members. Leave a 1⁄2" gap between the boards. If they are warped (when aren’t they warped?), that long bar clamp can come in handy to pull those naughty twisted ones into place while you get the screws in. Seventeen boards were required to deck the raft, which leaves one extra (in all likelihood, you will have at least one reject, so it’ll balance out), and the last one had to be ripped to fit. Remember to check the distance from the deck boards to the end of the raft as you near the end, and adjust the spacing accordingly.

— Complete the raft by sanding the deck and any sharp edges or corners. Finally, for the older folk (such as myself ), I added a ladder.

All that remains is to make sure your swim raft is securely anchored in some suitable location where it won’t be a hazard to navigation. Then just add sun and swimsuit, and enjoy.

free swim raft wood plans

If you like this free set of wood plans, you should check out the plans we charge for!  Please make sure you check out our shed planss in our shed plans package before you leave our site and see if they meet your needs!  Our shed plans package has thousands of plans like this included in an easy to print PDF format.