Let's talk about boat docks. We walk across them, we bob our boat next to them, and they take a harsh beating from the elements all year round. They really deserve more credit, yet they're often taken for granted. Maintaining a safe, clean, and superior boat dock takes time and precautions. However, taking the time to provide your boat dock with a little extra TLC regularly and all year round, will prevent expensive repairs down the road.
Here are 6 tips to keep your dock safe, sturdy, and looking amazing longer:
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1. Clean Properly & Often
The best way to clean your dock is to pressure clean it to remove any dirt and debris. Maintaining the integrity of the decking is crucial, so you don't want to clean it too hard. Consider hiring a professional to take care of this every month or whenever works best for you. Having the right equipment and knowledge can greatly improve your dock.
After the pressure washing has been completed, wooden docks will be softer and splinters will be prevalent. This is where sanding is important, but often overlooked. A sander will prevent any boat guests from getting splinters on their feet.
Once every 4-5 years you'll also need to get your dock sealed if it's not painted. By choosing a natural sealer you'll protect your wood, boost its natural appeal, and maintain the integrity of your dock, keeping it in tip-top shape. Simply spray two or three coats and let the sealant take care of the rest.
On any steel parts or supports, make sure to sand, prime, and paint any rusting spots as needed.
With a variety of boat dock types, it's important to use the best cleaning processes based on your dock's needs.
2. Take Pictures Once a Month
Pull out your phone and snap a few pictures of your dock from all different angles. Compare new pictures to those from previous months. You're way more likely to notice subtle changes or any red flags in pictures and can take care of issues ahead of time.
3. Inspect Regularly By Setting Schedules
Life gets busy. Make your dock a commitment by putting calendar reminders in your phone, or writing it down, when your dock is ready for maintenance. Just as important as changing fire detector batteries, scheduling haircuts, or meetings, schedule time once a month to thoroughly inspect, clean, take pictures, etc. This also includes looking for any loose boards, rotting boards, nails or screws sticking up, or any other structural issues. Ladders should be inspected regularly as well. Plan to fix these issues as soon as possible to prevent further problems. Time gets lost in the shuffle, by setting a time you're less likely to forget and more likely to make it a high priority.
4. Protect The Corners and Sides
Let's be real, sometimes even the greatest captain's parking plans can go haywire depending on wind or other uncontrollable factors. Reduce potential parking damages to your dock by placing rubber mats or carpet on the corners. You can also install rubber bumpers or old tires on the sides to prevent boat impact damage.
5. No "Temporary" Fixes
Minor issues may seem tempting to cover up with a quick fix. For example, don't use indoor fasteners or other products, make sure it's meant for outdoors and it's waterproof. Don't ignore loose boards or missing nails. Get the job done right and as soon as possible to ensure it won't turn into a costly repair later on.
One of the most important factors in maintaining the integrity of your boat dock is safety. Consider if your dock will be used for sunbathing, fishing, or entertaining. If you're fishing one day and planning to entertain the next, ensure there are no stray hooks or fishing poles left on your dock waiting to be stepped on. It's also important to keep a life ring on hand attached to your dock in case of emergency situations.
Keep your boat dock in optimal condition by following these helpful dock maintenance tips. You'll be able to enjoy a safe, reliable, and gorgeous looking dock for many years!
For all of your residential and commercial boating needs visit Duncan Seawall today.