News & Noteworthy
At Kroeger Marine, we want to ensure your investment is protected for years to come.
For anyone whose happy place is out on the boat, winter can be a bit of a bummer. Not to mention, when it comes to getting ready for winter, maintaining your boat dock through the cold months can seem like a daunting task. Worse yet, some people just simply pack it in for the year and wait until spring, hoping everything is okay when they return.
If you haven’t already, this is the time to consider what steps you need to take to winterize your boat, dock, and related equipment. While our winters here in the South are mild compared to many parts, we do get temperatures low enough every year to potentially damage your boating equipment if it’s not properly prepared. Our local lakes also experience enough high winds this time of year that can also cause damage.
Here are a few simple steps you can take that will make a big difference in maintaining your lakefront investments in the winter and cut down on any unpleasant surprises and avoidable repairs come spring:
- Boat Docks: It is very important to inspect the connection points on your dock where the ramp meets the dock and where it meets the shoreline. Examine the walkaway to check for loose pins or hinges. These areas are the most vulnerable to everyday wear and tear. Overall, winter is a good time to do a thorough check-up of every inch of your boat dock for loose bolts, broken welds, cracks, and more. If you spot any, get them fixed right away before it can affect your dock’s structural integrity.
- Dock Anchoring: Make sure to check your anchoring connection to ensure it is secure. If you are on cable to winch anchoring, adjust the cables to a tension that keeps them out of the water. This will slow down the corrosion process. You should also ensure that each end of the cable has two clamps. It’s also important to inspect the cables to ensure there are no serious signs of wear and tear or rust and fraying. In addition, we recommend checking the cable winches. Make sure to check the toggle pin to ensure it works properly and check its locks as well. Examine for any loose connection. Grease each gear and ensure the winch locks properly in place, and if it does not, replace it with a new one. Lastly, it’s crucial to ensure the cable stobs are securely fixed in the ground and don’t indicate any potential signs of moving out of place. If you are on pilings anchoring, they are self-adjusting, so you should be good, but it’s always good to inspect the bolted and welded piling loops to be sure there aren’t any cracks or loose bolts and to check the pilings to ensure they are secure in the lakebed.
- Dock Accessories: Dock accessories, such as a ladder, should be stored in the up position and secured on the dock. It may seem obvious, but it’s also a good idea to secure any loose furniture or water toys that might get blown away in strong winds.
- Boat Lifts: Boat lifts are typically maintenance-free and need little attention in the wintertime. If the unit is up and operating properly there shouldn’t be much to worry about, but this is a good time to visually inspect the air hose leading to the tank of your boat lift. If you see bubbles, you may need to invest in a new boat lift, as it can’t keep your boat elevated. Examine the boat lift for loose parts and bolts as well. As an extra precaution, it’s a good idea to have lines tied from your boat to the dock even in the raised lift position. This eliminates the boat detaching in the unlikely event the lift loses air.
- Boats and Personal Watercrafts: It does get cold enough here occasionally to freeze a motor block and other areas that hold water in your system. Please consult your owner’s manual or dealer to ensure proper safety procedures are followed. This maintenance can also be done on-site at your dock by local service technicians in our area. Also, check to see if the manufacturer recommends a fuel stabilizer for your watercraft. Adding it is recommended to avoid fuel condensing water or becoming stale from sitting idle over the winter months.
Taking time to work through these best ways for maintaining your boat dock in the winter can help you to come back outside during the Spring ready for prepping for boat season. Let these tips be the place you start as you check things off your boat dock winter to-do list!