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 and cut down on any unpleasant surprises and avoidable repairs come spring!
Take a look at the connections where the ramp meets the dock and where it meets the shoreline. Do you see any breaks in welds or bending metal? These are areas vulnerable to wear and tear. 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.
Cables should be adjusted to a tension that keeps them out of the water. This will slow down the corrosion process. Also inspect the cables for rust and fraying. Pilings have loops around them that are bolted and welded, be sure there aren’t any cracks or loose bolts. Seaflex® is a self-adjusting underwater system mostly of out of view, so if you don’t notice any slack in the tension or wear on the connecting ropes you should be in good shape.
Boat lifts are typically maintenance free and need little attention. 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. 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. That eliminates the off chance of your boat taking a solo joyride in the unlikely event that the lift looses air.
Boats and PWCs (personal watercrafts- jet skis)
It does get cold enough here occasionally to freeze a motor block and other areas that hold water in your system. This is something that you’ll want to consult your owner’s manual or dealer on to ensure the 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 fuel stabilizer for your craft. Adding it is usually a good measure to avoid fuel condensing water or becoming stale from sitting idle over the winter months.
It’s easy to overlook these small measures that can make a big impact on your boating equipment, but taking some time now to prepare for colder temps will be well worth it come spring when you’re ready to get back out on the water!