How to winterize your boat dock

How to winterize your boat dock

If you’re in the Midwest like us, then cold weather has already moved in and temperatures have plummeted. That means it’s time to get those boat docks out of the water and get them winterized before they’re stored away until next year.

Depending on how far north you are, ice-in may not have happened quite yet on your home lake. If for some reason your boat dock isn’t out of the water and needs to be, then it’s time to get on it. But if you’re like us and have that checked off your winter weather to-do list, then now’s the time to tackle any needed repairs and maintenance.

It’s time to winterize your boat dock.

Why you need to winterize your boat dock

Water is not gentle. Anybody who owns a boat dock, or even a boat or other watercraft, can attest to this.

Over time, water will cause some normal wear and tear on any boat or structure that is in the water for any length of time. There’s also just the beating and banging that can often be unavoidable on the water.

Both of these factors can create a need for some minor repairs. Taking care of maintenance this time of year only makes sense if your dock is out of the water anyway. It’s so much easier than trying to perform repairs on a dock in the summer when it’s still in the water – or needs to be put right back when repairs are completed.

Either way, winterizing your boat dock – whether it’s floating or sectional – will help it last longer, meaning you get more enjoyment out of the structure, see a better return on your investment in your property and save more money over time.

Let’s get started

Like many annual tasks, preparing your boat dock for winter can sometimes feel like a more daunting task than it actually is. This is especially true for new dock owners or others who haven’t gotten into a yearly routine.

But with any task that takes time and planning, winterizing a boat dock can be broken down into a process that’s easy to follow and fairly straightforward. We’ve gathered all the tips and tricks you need to know the best way to winterize any boat dock and rest easy over the chilly season knowing it will be ready to go next spring.

First step: Remove the dock

As we’ve entered November and are now looking at December and the new year, you have very likely by now removed the boat dock from the water.

But not everybody absolutely needs to take the dock out of the water. For those of you who live in more southerly locales, this probably includes you. Docks do not need to be taken out of the water on lakes where the water does not freeze over winter.

Still, it’s a good idea to take the time each year to perform some simple upkeep to keep the dock in ship shape. Sometimes, this will involve removing the dock from the water, at least temporarily.

Keep reading to learn what types of maintenance are a good idea to complete annually for your floating or stationary boat dock.

Don’t forget to remove and store accessories

Many boat docks have parts and accessories that can be removed from the structure itself. It’s always a good idea to take these pieces and store them in a secure location. This can help prevent not only theft, but also damage from occurring when moving the dock either out of the water or to a better storage location.

Parts to consider removing include but are not limited to:

  • Benches
  • Ladders
  • Lighting
  • Boat cushions
  • End caps

If any of these are secured to the dock in a way that makes them difficult to remove, then it may not be necessary to take them off a dock for winter. However, detaching anything of value should at the very least be considered if the dock is going to stay outdoors and out of the water for a few months.

Up next: Maintenance

Now that that’s taken care of, it’s time to move onto the maintenance and upkeep portion of the winterization process. This is where you do the work that truly protects your investment.

All maintenance starts with a good, detailed visual inspection. Be on the lookout for that normal wear and tear that needs to be addressed before next boating season.

This can include loose boards on wooden docks or loose hardware that needs tightening. While you’re inspecting, consider cleaning the dock of algae or other buildup.

Another pro tip: Spray down your dock (before temps dip below freezing) with water to see what parts may not be repelling water. This is a sign that there could be some resealing work done to extend the lifespan of the structure.

How about dock insurance?

Winter is a good time to not only perform maintenance, but also think about prevention and what would happen if your boat dock does get damaged by circumstances beyond your control.

That means it’s time to think about insurance. As we’ve stated multiple times on our blog, you should always treat your boat dock as you would any other investment in your property and have it properly insured.

If your dock is a fixed structure, then it may be covered by your home insurance policy. On the other hand, if it’s removable, then home insurance may not cover it. In this case, check with your insurance provider to see if your personal property coverage includes your boat dock.

What next?

So, you’ve completed your boat dock winterization and maintenance. You’re now probably dreaming of warm, sunny weather that lets you get back on the water.

Well, unfortunately, now all you can do is wait for ice out and temperatures to return to a steady warmth. Until then, consider dreaming up a new dock project. It doesn’t have to be a total overhaul, but maybe a new feature that will make the structure even more enjoyable or even more valuable.

Request a quote from the VW Docks team to learn more.

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