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What to Check for a Winter-Ready Dock

When the temperatures start to drop, it makes sense to plan for winter. Preparing your dock should be just as important as making your other home arrangements. You want to make sure everything is in order before the real frost, snow, and ice set in. A little planning will help protect your dock through the elements—and give you a jumpstart to getting back on the water in the spring and summer.

Dock Winterization Tips and Maintenance

Organizing your waterfront property for winter isn’t always a fun task, but it’s an important process if your equipment is going to last. The general maintenance checks you do now can help you feel confident that your waterfront is prepped for any ice or harsh weather coming this season.

  • Check for loose bolts/connectors
  • Remove any ladders or ramps
  • Inspect boards for cracks
  • Tie a safety line (for floating docks)

Typically, dock owners can manage these steps on their own. But some cases may require a dock professional on site. If anything looks out of the ordinary with the items listed above, it’s probably time to call in the experts. Your dock might be in need of repairs before the fluctuating water depths and freezing temperatures do more damage.

Protecting Different Types of Docks

Depending on your dock type, you might need to complete a few other winterization steps. Following these general winterization tips is always a good idea as a minimum precaution. To really get specific about what your particular dock needs, pay attention to its material. Different dock types require their own winterization prep.

Stationary Docks

For the most part, permanent docks are designed to hold up against the winter elements. If your dock setup is in a protected area like a marina or cove, you’ll be just fine to leave your dock as-is for the winter. Lakes that are ½ mile across, however, may need to remove their docks for the winter. Open water between the dock and shoreline can cause problems throughout the season, so you’ll likely be better off removing the equipment from the water to protect it until spring.

Wooden Docks

Wooden docks often require more maintenance throughout the year. Fall and winter are no exception. As the weather starts to cool, it’s important to take time to inspect your dock’s sealant. If the boards can’t repel any water droplets, or you know the stain or sealant hasn’t been managed for a few years, it’s well worth it to do some touch-up work before the snow hits. Sand and re-seal any areas of your dock that look splintered, or just re-do the entire dock. Adding a layer of protection against the elements will help the equipment last and guard it against costly repairs and deterioration.

EZ Floating Docks

Docks made with materials like the EZ Dock systems are really great for winter-prep. (That’s one of the reasons we love working with their products!) Unless your dock is located on a river or other un-protected area, there’s really no reason to do anything special for your dock winterization. It can stay just like it is. EZ Dock panels only require a couple inches of water to float, so you don’t need to worry about damaging the underside of your dock. Plus, they hold up fine with ice. Most floating docks can move just fine with ice movements on lakes when they are not anchored—just remember to tie your safety line to a tree or other solid object on shore.

Need Help with Your Dock?

Reaching out to a waterfront company this time of year is an easy way to get ready for winter and the new year. Making plans for a new seawall installation or updated boat lift doesn’t have to wait until spring. In fact, finalizing those details during the colder months will let you jump right in to your new gear when the days warm up again. If you’ve got a project on the backburner, consider making some headway now. Then you can be ready to go for the entire waterfront season.

The team at Deaton’s Waterfront Services is proud to work with residential and commercial clients throughout the Midwest. We travel throughout Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. If you need any help with your winterizing your dock, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (317) 747-4933 or message Deaton’s Waterfront Services to get started.

Our dock and waterfront professionals are available year-round for project consultations and design work. We know you have dreams for your waterfront property. Let us help you make them a reality.