If you own a boat dock, and you're expecting a brutal winter, it's wise to take steps to winterize your investment. You might not realize this, but winter can totally destroy your dock, especially under snowy and icy conditions. To help your dock survive the winter, here are four steps you need to take to provide proper winterization.
Inspect the Boat Lift
If you haven't winterized your dock yet, now's the time to take care of that, especially if you expect winter storms to increase in severity. The first thing you need to do is to inspect the boat lift. You'll want to conduct a visual inspection of the lift and all the components. This should include the lift mechanism, nuts and bolts, and cables. Any signs of damage should be repaired as soon as possible. Once the water fills with ice, you'll have a harder time taking care of the repairs.
Invest in a De-Icer
If you're expecting the water to freeze this winter, you need to invest in a good de-icing mechanism. When solid ice encloses your dock, you can expect significant damage. This is particularly true if you go through a few freeze/thaw cycles before the final freeze. To prevent ice from damaging your dock, you'll need either an agitator or a bubbler, depending on the depth of the water. For deep water, you'll need the heavy-duty power of an agitator. An agitator is a submersible pump that draws warm water up from the depths to prevent freezing. For shallow waters, you can use a bubbler, which helps keep the water moving around your deck to prevent it from freezing.
Remove the Ramp
If you've decided to leave the ramp in the water this winter, you need to rethink that decision. Leaving the ramp in the water during the winter can pose a number of risks. First, if the ice shifts and begins to travel, the movement could rip the ramp right off your dock. Second, freeze/thaw cycles could cause significant damage to the ramp. For maximum protection, remove the ramp and place it on the dock until spring. Be sure to place the hardware in a safe place. You'll need it once you reattach the ramp.
If the water in your area is used for recreational purposes once a deep freeze occurs, you'll need to increase the visibility of your dock. You don't want skaters or snowmobilers to run into the dock once it's covered in snow. The best way to ensure maximum visibility is to install pole-mounted reflectors all the way around your dock.
Don't let winter weather destroy your dock, or make it a danger to those around it. Use the tips provided here to provide proper winterization for your boat dock this winter.