10 Tips For Maintaining & Repairing Your Boat Dock

Boating is an addictive hobby. When you hit the water once, you might be overwhelmed to go again and again. The best part is that you’ll never feel tired or exhausted about it. While you’re happy about it, it’s time to consider the other side of the experience, which is about maintaining and repairing your boat dock. A boat dock can save you a lot of money over time especially if you maintain it correctly. Remember that a boat dock shouldn’t be ignored at any instance. 

The ideal list of activities to maintain and repair your boat dock includes cleaning the dock, fixing broken or problematic sections, maintaining a record of your dock with photos, assessing safety elements, ensuring rust-free metals, choosing quality supplies, using dock covers, taking weather-based measures, sealant, and engaging a professional. 

Whether your boat dock needs a repair or a simple fix, you may need external help for certain instances. Based on the experiences of various boaters, we’ve curated a list of tips to maintain and repair your boat dock, thereby prioritizing safety and also saving money. 

If you haven’t set up your dock yet but are getting ready to, check out my other article…

Setting Up Your Boat Dock a Step-by-Step Guide

The next section will cover 10 items for maintaining and repairing your boat dock.

Tips For Maintaining & Repairing Your Boat Dock

1. Clean The Dock

It’s undeniable that the boat needs daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance depending on the parts, sections, and the existing condition of each of them. Likewise, a boat dock needs regular cleaning. 

If you’ve ever asked a sailor the #1 tip to extend the life of a boat dock, it would be as simple as cleaning it periodically. A proper cleaning routine helps eliminate deposits, mildew spots, and other debris. Also, a clean dock is a must for starting your boating day out right.

A clean dock has always made me less stressed. 

2. Fix Broken/Problematic Sections

Have you ever noticed a small crack on a portion of the dock and decided to fix it later? The truth is that such cracks are prone to extend and turn into considerable breaks in a short span of time. If you’re looking to save money on your boat dock, it’s essential to fix broken or problematic parts in a timely manner. 

Does that mean a temporary fix to these sections? Never! A quick fix has the potential to worsen the situation and increase your financial overheads. If it’s an issue that you can fix, then fix it permanently, do it! Otherwise, you will regret it later, trust me.

3. Maintain A Photo-Based Record 

Taking a picture of your boat dock each week or month can save you money, time, and effort. Are you wondering about the rationale behind my statement? Well, if you’re inspecting your boat dock regularly, you may notice some wear and tear that doesn’t need fixing right now. In a few months, you may need to repair it. Having these photos you can go back and see the rate of deterioration and plan for future issues.

If you’ve missed taking pictures, you may never know what went wrong, and this can dig a hole into your pocket. This can sound like a painstaking task, but this warns you of issues in the exterior prior to them happening.

If you’re happy to do this task, you can also replace pictures with videos as well. After 20 years it will be kind of cool to see how your dock has changed as well.

Tip: Don’t just stop with exteriors. You can also spend extra time inspecting the interiors or the underside of your deck each month. 

4. Assess Safety Elements

Another critical and undervalued aspect is the safety level associated with your boat dock. A properly maintained boat dock has the potential to last longer and also avoid slipping. Likewise, the dock looks fresh and repels the buildup of debris from the external environment. This is the human safety factor. 

It’s recommended to ensure that the boat dock has emergency supplies stocked, such as fire extinguishers. Abiding by local laws and maximizing the safety level can prevent lawsuits and financial issues in the future. 

You wouldn’t want to pay $$$$ for a passenger’s fall just because the floor is slippery, would you?

5. Ensure Rust-Free Metals

Behind most wear and tear instances lies a rusty metal that’s slowly corroding the metal and lowering its life. A boat dock has an excellent lifespan, but a rust-filled metal dock can give out quickly. In fact, most boaters prioritize measures to prevent corrosion and put a coat of paint on whenever required. This will keep the metal free from rust and also look new. 

Another reason that this tip is so important is that it increases the value of the boat dock. Even if you don’t plan to sell, a well-maintained boat dock has a better market value. It starts with removing the surface rust and repainting to give it a fresh look. 

6. Choose Quality Supplies

Most beginner boaters choose low-quality materials and supplies for their boats. While not all materials can take a toll on the quality of the dock, most materials have shorter lifespans and don’t meet their purpose. Hence, you may have to buy twice. Instead, you can purchase top-notch quality gear that functions in the long run. 

This is a great tip- Buy Nice or Buy Twice!

7. Use Dock Covers

When you begin dock life, you need to be cautious of the external temperature. Your boat dock has a dire need for a quality cover that protects it from adverse weather conditions. Whether it’s snowing or scorching sun in the location, a cover controls the exposure to harsh temperature levels. 

In most cases, you can get the standard cover for your dock’s size. Be careful about the material of the cover. Most shops give you different materials to choose from – polyester, canvas, and vinyl. Based on the nature around your dock, you need to pick the right material. If you’re docking your boat mostly in dry locations, a canvas cover is all that you need. 

8. Take Weather-Based Measures

Taking care of your boat dock requires extensive knowledge of do’s and dont’s. In order to protect the dock, the owner should cover it as often as possible. If ice sits on your dock for a long period of time, it can be a costly repair. Always cover your dock if bad weather is a possibility.

Further, you should assess the type of water in different seasons. For instance, wrong bumpers and rub rails can leave your dock vulnerable to rough waters and also move from their original positions. The solution is to use the ideal size and shape of rub rails and bumpers. 

Ensure that you use a weather tracker so you can plan your schedule effectively. Remember to customize the maintenance routine according to the marine environment.

I have seen so many docks destroyed by rough weather conditions, but the damage could have been prevented on a lot of them.

9. Store A Sealant

Most docks are made of wood that is prone to moisture. As the season differs, mold and mildew accumulate and create several patches, thereby making the dock unusable. If you’ve stepped away for a couple of months and returned only to find mildew, then the fault is on your side. You haven’t got a sealant to protect the surface. As a result, the life of the wood is declining, and the dock is turning unusable.  

What’s the secret tip to extend the lifespan of a dock? A sealant! Covering a wooden dock with a sealant can protect the surface and also retain the look for longer lifespans. However, you should know when to use a sealant. Using it the wrong way can cause it to be ineffective.  

10. Hire A Professional

Have you ever thought that hiring a professional to fix an issue on your dock would be an expensive affair? You may be wrong! It’s recommended to maintain a directory of service providers in various locations. 

Based on the issue you’re encountering, you can hire a professional to get the job done. As a rule of thumb, it’s appropriate to set aside a small fee each month to help you spend during emergencies. Read reviews about the professional and choose the one that fits your budget. 

Note: Collect details of the issues on the dock before you kick-start your project. Make sure the professional will address all of them. This will keep you protected. 

Are there any other tips to follow? If you’re boating regularly, you need to know these quick points. 

  • Edges/corners of your dock need extra protection. Include them in your periodic maintenance routine. 
  • Replace parts whenever required. You should also keep a spare readily available. This is to avoid last-minute surprises from your dock. 
  • Be aware of service schedules, and don’t miss these dates. 
  • Always cross-check with a professional before you make a change to your dock. This will save you money in the long run. 
  • Microorganisms are a big NO! So, adopt a prevention-first strategy. 

Final Thoughts

Value for the money and return on your investment are two priorities when it comes to your dock. Regardless of the dock usage, owners want their docks to last longer and also increase the life of their boats. Simple tips mentioned in this post can take your boat a long way!

Most importantly, these tips enhance your discipline in maintaining the boat dock and keeping the boat dock usable, clean, and safe.


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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