5 Dock Maintaince Tasks That Will Keep Your Dock As Safe As Possible
If you are lucky enough to have recently purchased bayfront property on either coast that features a private boat dock, you're probably looking forward to spending a great deal of your time enjoying outings on your boat. Whether you plan to sports fish for the purpose of providing tasty morsels for the family dinner table or simply intend on taking your boat out to enjoy the peace and beauty of the ocean every chance you get, there are certain things that you will need to know in order to ensure that your boat dock is as safe as possible. Following are five maintenance tasks that will keep your dock as safe as possible if performed on a regular basis.
Maintain Metal Platforms
Many boat docks have platforms made of metal that need to be treated with a rust-resistant product on a regular basis. About once per year, you should apply a commercial lubricant designed for use on metal to the area. Your local home improvement retailer will have products specifically designed for this purpose. If rusting has already occurred, you should contact a marine contractor to have the rusty spots repaired. If over one-quarter of the platform is rusty, it may be a good idea to replace it because rust significantly weakens metal.
Repair and Replace Wooden Platforms
If your boat dock has wooden platforms, you should repair and replace any wood that shows signs of becoming rotten. If your dock was built within the past twenty years, it was probably constructed with lumber that was treated with water-resistant chemicals, but unless the previous homeowner kept meticulous records, there's really no way to know if this occurred. You should plan on doing any repair work, however, with water-resistant lumber, and if you know for a fact that your dock was constructed with untreated wood, you should begin the process of replacing it with treated lumber. You can do this a little bit at a time as existing wood needs replacing.
Seal the Wood
The wooden parts of your dock should be sealed at least once per year using a product specifically formulated for this purpose. If your deck is the type that can be completely removed from the water, it is best to perform this procedure after it has been brought onto dry land in the fall for winter storage. If your dock is not removable, you should still seal the portions that are above water. Before you seal the dock, you should clean it off thoroughly using a pressure washer or a commercial deck cleaner and sand down any areas where peeling paint or other issues have created an uneven surface. Be sure to follow all directions on the package of sealant thoroughly and use recommended safety procedures and equipment.
Traditionally, barnacles are removed in the spring, but if you've got a removable dock, you may as take care of the barnacles when you bring your dock onto land for the winter. Simply scrape them off using a putty knife or a specially manufactured hull scraper. After you've scraped the barnacles off, clean the area with a mildly abrasive household cleanser such as Comet to remove any lingering traces of them.
Inspect the Underwater Foundation
If you are a good swimmer who is comfortable underwater, you should perform an annual inspection of your dock's underwater foundation while wearing swim goggles. Along with visually checking for obvious damage, run your hand over all surfaces and check for any signs of damage. You should always have someone who is a good swimmer standing by on shore as a safety precaution any time that you go underwater. Many homeowners whose property contains private docks choose to hire a marine construction service to perform diving inspections rather than tackling the job themselves.