Spring boat dock checklist for maintenance and safety

Spring boat dock checklist for maintenance and safety

Spring is here and boat owners are no doubt itching to get out on the water. Before getting any watercraft out on the open lake, though, there’s something else that could need your attention first.

Your boat dock.

In many cases, no matter whether it’s a floating or sectional dock, chances are you may need to reinstall the structure if you took the step of removing it for the winter to avoid damage or other problems that can come up thanks to ice and other debris.

But while the best docks make reinstalling a breeze, this doesn’t mean you can skip a little bit of extra work and check for needed maintenance and ensure that using the dock this boating season will be safe for everyone who steps foot on it.

No need to worry if this is your first time or fifteenth time reinstalling your boat dock. Here is a checklist with everything you need to cover when giving the structure an inspection for safety and maintenance needs.

Checklist overview

If all you need is a quick checklist to reference when inspecting your dock, then we have you covered.

  1. Clean the dock of any algae or other dirt and grime.
  2. Fill tires with air for easier rolling in – if your dock has tires.
  3. Repair any missing wood planks or other parts.
  4. Stain, finish and seal (if applicable) following repairs.
  5. Replace any aluminum or decking sections made of other materials if damaged.
  6. Inspect and repair bumpers and other edging.
  7. Attach any accessories that were removed for winter.
  8. Add new accessories before reinstalling.

Looking for more details? Continue reading for all the information you need to help guide you through the checklist.

Time to give the dock a good cleaning

First things first, let’s start with the basics. All boat docks, whether they were removed from the water ahead of winter and stores inside or outside, need a good cleaning come spring.

How you go about cleaning and washing your dock of all the dirt, dust and grime that can build up over winter depends largely on the type of material the dock is made out of.

This first step applies to both wood, aluminum and docks made of other materials.

Start off by looking for any algae or other slippery substances that may have gotten missed when you cleaned the dock when it was winterized and readied for storage. It’s not uncommon for some spots to be missed or simply not cleaned as well as originally thought.

You’ll want to scrub these substances off, though, as they are a slipping and safety hazard..

Optionally, you may use certain cleaning materials. Check that any chemicals or other substances are environmentally friendly so as not to land in hot water with local governing authorities. You can find the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of “Safer Choice” products online for reference.

Keep reading to learn more about how to go about cleaning different types of decking material without harming their look or structural integrity.

Cleaning wood docks

Wood decking needs to be treated with much more care than, say, aluminum decking.

In most cases, you can use a pressure washer at a lower PSI to wash wood. If the wood is natural, you can also use a mixture of hot water, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to scrub ahead of using the pressure washer.

However, if the wood is treated, then avoid using that mixture and stick to scrubbing with water and then following up with the pressure washer.

Cleaning aluminum docks

As for aluminum docks, the cleaning process can often be less involved – but no less important.

As with wood, a low PSI pressure washer can be used for cleaning. A mixture of baking soda and hot water will also do wonders for removing unwanted substances like algae.

Repair missing wood planks or other parts

While cleaning, make note of any obvious signs of needed repairs.

For wood docks, this could include warped or split planks or even nails that have popped up. Dented aluminum or other decking should also be repaired or replaced to eliminate safety concerns.

Severely damaged decking should be replaced.

Stain, finish and seal following repairs

Once all the necessary repairs have been made, it’s time to stain, finish and seal wood docks. Obviously, aluminum dock owners can skip this step.

Hey, that’s one reason to consider using aluminum. However, it has to be said that the beauty of wood sometimes makes up for the extra work.

But staining or finishing and then sealing the wood will help protect it from mold growth and rot, meaning your dock will last longer.

Inspect and repair bumpers and other edging

Certain parts of boat docks just take more of a beating during boating season. This includes bumpers, boat cushions and other types of edging.

Give your bumpers and edging a once-over and replace as needed. This will help protect not only the dock from impact damage, but also boats and any other watercraft utilizing the dock.

Reattach and add new accessories

You may have removed some accessories, such as ladders, benches or even certain lighting, from the dock when prepping for storage.

Now’s the best time to reattach and even add new accessories to your dock if you choose.

Fill tires with air (if applicable)

Finally, if your dock can be rolled in on tires, make sure that you check that the tires are properly filled to the correct PSI level.

This will make reentering the dock into the water much easier. You will also thank yourself later in the year when it’s time to take the dock out of the water.

You’re much more likely to encounter a flat if you choose not to refill air and inspect the tires for problems now.

Time for a boat dock upgrade?

Finding yourself looking at this checklist and thinking, “You know what I really want in a boat dock…?”

Then contact us! Designing and installing the boat docks of our customers’ dreams is our specialty – and a challenge we always welcome.

All you have to do is start by requesting a free quote.

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