With the change of seasons, winter weather and cold temperatures start to approach. Winter weather conditions can be unpredictable, so depending on your location it’s never to early to start preparing your dock for freezing water and hazardous conditions. Freezing water has the ability to expand, melt, and refreeze damaging any materials left in the water. Ice can be disastrous to your dock and boat, here are some tips for winterizing your dock and maintaining its condition through the winter months.
When preparing to winterize your boat dock you should first visually inspect the dock. Owners should blow the boat lift up, ensuring that it is holding air and there are no bubbles. If there are bubbles the lift will not be able to hold the boat up. You should also make sure to check and tighten all bolts every year. You should also ensure that dock cables are secure and have no excessive wear. Ice that forms on cables will push the dock further out when melting. If you have water lines or pumps on your dock, you should ensure that they are drained in order to prevent breaking due to freezing temperatures.
If you’re in a location where freezing temperatures and ice occur it can be best to invest in a bubbler or an agitator. Designed to keep ice away from docks, agitators place a heavy-duty submersible motor that draws warm waters up from the body of water’s depths towards the surface, which can keep large areas of water even. Bubblers, which are better for shallow water, use an air compressor that blows tiny bubbles down the line of a diffuser or hose. This creates constant movement, which consequentially keeps ice from forming. However, you should ensure that they are properly installed in order to prevent liability. Timers and temperature sensors can also be installed to monitor ice formation as well as saving on electricity usage.
Location plays a major part in winterizing your dock. If your dock is located in a protected location there is often less to worry about. If your dock is protected from wind, your dock can be left in place. Waves from wind often do not exceed one foot from dock area keeping your dock secure. You should remove any ladders and ramp legs, as well as securing a safety line from the dock to a secure object on the shore. You should also remove any swim rafts to ensure they do not rub on rocks and remain secure for the spring. If your dock is in an exposed location you should tow the dock to a protected bay or remove it from the water. Exposed locations with high winds can allow moving winds to crush docks against the shore.
If you’re in an area that is known for disastrous weather conditions, you should start planning for Winter as soon as possible. For more tips on preparing your boat for winter check out our other blogs on winterizing your jet ski lift and boat lift.