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How to Prepare Your Boat Dock for the Winter

Posted by Owen Jones on

One of the most important tasks to take care of in the autumn is preparing your boat dock for the winter ahead. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed a great summer of fishing and boat rides with family and friends and have tons of memories saved. Now that cold weather is coming, it’s essential to make sure your dock is ready for the impending temperature drop.

Below, we’ll look at how to handle the ice and snow that many locations deal with in the winter. We’ll also consider whether or not to store the dock over the winter, what to do with accessories and items on the dock, and much more.

Deciding Whether to Remove a Dock for the Winter 

It’s crucial to know whether removing the dock or leaving it standing is the best option for the winter. This depends on your location, as well as several other things. If you’re located somewhere that stays warm all winter, there’s no need to go through the work of removing the dock. However, if the water under the dock tends to freeze, the safest option is removing the dock for the winter. 

At the same time, only some kinds of docks can be removed and replaced based on the season. If you have a stationary, permanent dock, it’s not created to be moved. Those who own a floating dock, on the other hand, will find that you have the option of moving the dock somewhere to be stored through the winter. Pipe docks and their sections can be removed or lifted from the water during cold weather. 

If you have a floating dock, you can choose to keep it out if the following steps are taken: 

  • Inspect all the hardware to make sure all components on the dock are secure. Remove accessories like dock ramps and ladders. 
  • Loosen the anchor chains on the dock so it can better adjust to water levels as they shift. 
  • Tie a line from a secured item on land to the dock to prevent it from floating away. 
  • Take care to mark the dock so people out on the lake know it’s there and can avoid it.

 

Protecting a Permanent Dock from Frigid Temperatures 

If you own a dock that can’t be removed, there are still options to prepare it for the winter weather that’s on its way. One of the most critical items to have available is a deicer, which can be used on the dock’s legs. This assists with oscillating the water so that there’s less chance of any damage. 

Another thing you can do to keep your dock in good condition is waterproofing it. You should also be sure that the boat lift is working correctly and there aren’t any structural issues that might worsen over the winter. Keep in mind that preparing a dock for winter weather makes it less likely that there will be damage, but it isn’t a certainty. It’s a good idea to look at your insurance coverage before winter comes.

 

Removing and Storing Accessories and Extras 

A quick and easy way to get started with winter dock preparation is to store any accessories. Put away items like chairs and tables in the basement, garage, or shed so they aren’t exposed to the cool temperatures for months. It’s up to you where you choose to store them, but you want to be sure it’s a location without moisture or cold temperatures. While keeping your dock in the best condition is essential, it’s also a good idea to make sure your accessories are somewhere safe while the dock isn’t being used.

 

Perform All Needed Routine Maintenance 

While you’re out removing accessories, there’s another task you can take care of. To prevent damage in the winter, you should make sure your annual maintenance has been taken care of. This starts with a simple visual inspection of the dock. Look for signs of wear and tear that should be repaired. If there are issues, take care of them rather than waiting until the spring. 

A deck scrubber is a great tool to get your boat’s dock looking its best. It can remove fungus and algae that has grown on and attached to your boat dock. While you do the cleaning, spray the dock with water to see what areas easily repel it and which do not. This will give you an understanding of where you might need to reseal the materials to protect the dock.

 

Consider Utilizing Dock Bubblers 

You might be wondering if there are options to keep docks free of ice during the winter. There is one solution; it’s called a dock bubbler. These tools release air bubbles through a hose that connects to an air compressor. When the bubbles are released, warm water starts to rise. That keeps the water by the dock warmer to prevent ice. 

However, dock bubblers are only useful in some environments. If you’re near a lake with low water levels, it can cause a bubbler to stop working. Bubblers also may not be helpful near moving sheets of ice. If there are strong winds, a piece of ice could blow into the dock and cause damage. 

If a dock bubbler is something you want to use, consider turning it on in November and then off again in January after the ice is frozen and stabilized. Once it heads into March, the bubbler can be turned on again to help the ice melt and shift away from the dock.

 

Get Through the Winter with Ease by Preparing Your Dock 

Even if you live somewhere that gets cold and icy in the winter, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fishing and boating during the warmer seasons. Follow the instructions above to keep your dock secured and safe throughout the colder months. After spring is here, you’ll know that you won’t have a lot to do before you can get back on the water. 

Contact Tommy Docks today for any of your Dock Kits, Dock Hardware, or Dock Accessory needs!

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