Winter is coming. It is all too easy to believe that there is no need for ongoing care during the winter months, but it is important to realize that without proper preventative care, ice can wreak havoc with your dock and boat lift, which may result in thousands of dollars in damage. As the ice expands and contracts, the pressure can cause your dock to become misshapen or damaged. Strong winds, tides and seiches can also cause ice floes into your dock, damaging pilings and dock structure. If snow builds up on top of your boat, the extra weight may cause your boat lift to fail if it isn’t removed promptly.
How To Protect Your Dock
The goal is to prevent ice from forming around your permanent dock. There are two main methods, bubblers and deicers. A dock bubbler uses self-weighted air hoses connected to an air compressor on shore. The low pressure, high volume air releases thousands of bubbles through holes in the hose which agitate the water and brings warmer water to the surface. This keeps the area free of ice and works best when the water depth is 6 feet or less. Dock deicers are a submersible unit with a built-in impeller and motor that is installed below the dock. The deicer’s propellers create an artificial current that draws up warmer subsurface water to the surface. Creating a continuous flow of warmer water to the surface prevents ice from forming. Although these methods are not full-proof, they are good enough to protect your dock during most winters.
How To Protect Your Boat Lift
The first thing to do when winterizing your boat lift is to perform a thorough inspection. Pay special attention to your cables and replace them if there is any sign of fraying. Spraying the cables with a penetrating lubricant may protect them from ice. If your lift has a chain or bearings that require lubrication, make sure that they are sufficiently lubricated. It is best to store your boat on-shore during winter. If this is not possible, make sure to raise your lift as high as possible and secure the cradles to the top beams and other dock structure using strapping. This will prevent your boat from rocking in the wind and will support the boat if a cable were to break. These measures should be sufficient to safeguard your boat lift as long as the underlying dock structure and pilings are not damaged.
We recently wrote about a customer of ours that had a neat idea to protect his elevator-style boat lift during the Michigan winter. He safely stores his boat on land during winter and uses our custom engineered pivoting brackets to lift the elevator tracks out of the water for winter storage. What a great way to prevent track damage from the ice.
How To Protect Your Boat
Nobody knows how to better protect your boat than the insurance experts at BoatUS. Please check out their complete guide to winterizing your boat. It is really well written and thorough.
Here’s looking forward to Spring so that we can begin boating again.