Docking in Winter. When it comes to the lakes and marinas in the Midwest, most people make the mistake of not taking care of their dock in winter. Yes, you are not using your dock, but once the temperature falls, plenty of changes take place that causes quite the damage.
Without proper preventative care, ice will wreak havoc on the dock, boats in the water, and hoists throughout the season, costing you thousands of dollars in repairs.
So, protect your dock and minimize losses by taking a few steps in advance. Let’s take a look at them:
Monitor Lake Level
When the water level changes, it exposes the dock to damage. To monitor the water level, record the minimum depth so you know when to take out your floating dock.
The key to protecting a floating dock in winter is making sure the weather is clear. Before the season is in full swing, take out your boat and remove any loose items. Store them in a shed and cover your boat with a tarp.
Once the storm passes, inspect the dock closely. Repair any damages before they compromise the integrity of the structure. If your dock is made of wood, shovel any snow off the platform to prevent rot.
Monitor Gangplank Angle
When the water level in a lake goes down, the angle of the gangplank continues to decrease. When the dock is adjusted, the steep angle makes it unsafe to use by causing binding points. Hence, you should get the dock lifted and out of the water.
Check Your Boat Lift
Before removing the dock, make sure all the accessories are working properly. Make sure that it is holding air and the parts look rust-free. If you had your floating dock installed by a professional, it is better to get it inspected and repaired by them.
Give the Dock More Room to Adjust
If you have anchored your floating dock with chains, loosen them up so it adjusts to the changing water level.
Pro Step: If you have a pipe dock, remove it in winter and store it in a dry place. Pipe docks are stationary, so they won’t adjust to the changing water level, causing them to drown.
Keep Ice Away
De-icers can be expensive. This small machine helps remove ice from a dock and makes the surface less slippery. Two other options include using bubblers and agitators. These tools help keep the water in motion, which prevents it from freezing. Remember that a dock bubbler will only keep the ice sheets away. A strong gust of wind might push them into the dock, causing a crack in the platform.
As said earlier, docks are not cheap! So, consider getting dock insurance, as it will help cover any damages the platform might face in winter. To buy quality floating docks, visit the EZ Dock website. For more information about their products or to talk to a staff member about your dock needs, dial 800-654-8168.