When it comes to prepping the dock for winter, it’s a lot easier if you can count on a predictable season. It can be difficult in some areas of the country to determine when winter will come to stay, let alone when you should actually pack it all in and prepare your dock for the offseason.
For starters, if you live in Vermont, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll want to pack up your dock stuff and keep it stored because winter is going to show eventually. However, if you’re on the coast in the Carolinas, you might be far enough south that you might not be sure when to close down. Here are some things that can help you keep up with the unpredictability and create a predictable routine for caring for your dock.
Ask Other Boaters
When you’re new to boating, the best resource that you have is those who have come before you. Their experience and expertise will make it easy for you to learn everything that you need to know about boating, including how (and when) to pack it in for the winter. Some people will default to packing away during Labor Day weekend, but they might be missing out on some prime boating or water time since there may still be plenty of nice weekends ahead.
Some people might even be able to tell you whether you should close your dock entirely, whether you can use it for the winter months, or if you want to remove a floating dock from a specific body of water that’s notorious for ice buildup. It’s all about getting that valuable inside information and that can make a big difference in how you handle your dock throughout the year.
Be Prepared at All Times
Once it gets close to fall, you can start buying and prepping everything for the winter months. Make sure that you follow all of the guidelines for winterizing and preparing your dock for the colder months, including any sealing that needs to happen or chemicals or cleaners that need to be applied. If you have floating accessories or items that will need to be packed away, make sure that they’re just a couple of steps from being pulled and packed at any time.
You don’t have to bit sitting around waiting for the right time to close, but having everything ready will make a big difference. You can even store your accessories on your boat or in a shed near your dock (if possible) so that they’re put away but still accessible in case you want to enjoy another day or two on the water during the fall.
Make a Checklist
In the fall, you will want to clean your boat deck and dock and inspect the entire area for potential issues and problems that need to be addressed. Again, doing this now will save you the hassle in the spring and make it easier for you to just get out on the water. It will also allow you to have more time this fall to enjoy the water because you’ll know that you are always just a few steps away from being closed up for the season. It can be hard to live in an unpredictable climate and manage your boat dock, but it’s not impossible.
If you are going to remove your dock from the water, you may not have as much time to go back and forth during the fall months, but you’ll still be able to get a little more use when you plan and know what to expect. For example, you might add to your checklist to pull your dock after the first frost, or even after the first snow. That way, you know that you have a certain point at which to pack it in and you can be ready.
Consider Portable Parts and Docks
One of the easiest ways to deal with unpredictable seasons when you don’t have a permanent dock installation is to choose portable parts, wheels, and other accessories that are made for putting in and out of the water at will. Wheels are available to help transport dock sections to storage when they’re removed from the water. This can also make it a single day project that can be done later in the season because it won’t take as much time.
When you’ve got everything ready to go, a last-minute closing up is pretty easy and can allow you to enjoy a lot more time on your dock when you live in an unpredictable climate. Whether it snows once or five times before Christmas, you’ll be able to course-correct and get your dock stored away even if you aren’t doing it as soon as fall hits like so many boaters do.
The Bottom Line
Unpredictability is no stranger to the average boater. While there is plenty of information about hard-and-fast winterization and seasonal storage for docks, few people talk about the in-between and the weird climates that have been giving people more time to enjoy the great outdoors. Before you pack it all in for September or October, if you think you might still be able to use the dock, consider setting up a prep plan so that you can keep boating and be just minutes away from winterization and closing down at any given time.
The team at Tommy Docks knows all about portable and DIY dock solutions for floating docks and more. Our team has years of experience and we have the latest docks and accessories to ensure that you get the most out of your time on the water. Talk to the experts today about how you can have a more versatile docking solution that fits the unpredictable climate that you live in so that you can make more of your dock ownership and enjoy as much time outdoors as possible.