Having a dock for boating, kayaking, paddle boating, and other adventures on the water when you own a home or cabin on the water adds convenient water access and value to the property, but over time things become weathered and worn, eventually becoming a hazard. You may lose a boat, or cause it to smash on the shoreline, wood may become rotted or splintered, your dock may become submerged under water, or ropes and cables could snap, potentially causing injuries. You may be wondering if it is time to upgrade your dock this summer and how to tell the difference between normal wear and tear and what needs to be replaced. The following are some signs it is time to do a dock upgrade, and ideas for ways that you can fix and add to your dock.
Simple Maintenance Strategies to Prolong Your Dock’s Life
- Keep it Clean: Clean your dock annually, including scrubbing stains, clearing out gaps, and inspecting for wear and tear. Although a pressure washer makes it easy, it may also chip wood and paint if done incorrectly, causing the dock to rot faster.
- Sand and Stain: After washing, sand the wood down until it is smooth, and then stain the wood when water levels are low so you can access as much of the dock as possible. This may also be done once a year.
Is it Time to Upgrade Your Dock?
Common signs it is time to upgrade or replace your boat dock include:
- Your needs have changed: The size or doesn’t work for you anymore, for example if you have acquired multiple boats, you may wish to have a T-shaped or U-shaped dock configurations over a rectangular shape
- Rot, rust, and cracking: Rotten wood, rust, and cracks are all serious signs it is time to fix or replace your deck. Corrosion and rust can cause the entire structure to cave in if it is not taken care of, wood rot can make foundations weak, and cracks can be a sure sign it is time to replace the structure. Have professionals do an assessment before trusting your safety to a damaged dock.
- Damaged foundation: If your foundation is damaged, the entire structure will not have the support it needs and will eventually crumble or fall into the water. If the foundation is bending or cracking, you may need to replace the entire dock. If it is just one pillar with damage, you may be able to get a licensed professional to assess the overall safety and viability of the structure, and whether you can get away with only replacing one pillar.
- There is Plant Life Growing On It: Mildew, algae, etc. growing on the dock can accelerate rot on the docking system, especially on floating docks
- Exposed posts: Posts not planted deeply enough or without pile caps, or extensive sand bed erosion occurring around the posts over time. Posts should be embedded a minimum of four feet under the earth, and when the earth shifts around them it can cause the dock to lose anchorage and become unstable. You may be able to change your crib dock into a floating dock in this case.
- Warping or Bending: Wood boards can become warped because of wet conditions and weathering, especially if they haven’t been treated properly. You may either replace the boards or try and flatten them using a bar clamp, depending on how bent they are.
Ways to upgrade your boat dock
Dock maintenance is important and going beyond basic maintenance will give your water-front cabin or property a luxurious feel and will improve your overall enjoyment of this outdoor area. Some simple upgrades to your boat dock may include:
- Paint and stain all surfaces regularly: Re-staining the wood and painting aluminum docks, or replacing the decking will give the dock a fresher look and to seal the areas from weathering
- Add handrails: Handrails are one of the most overlooked boat dock accessories that can add a high degree of safety during windy or stormy days, making all users feel more secure
- Add dock bumpers: These are shock-absorbing devices that attach to the dock to protect boats from damage as weather or fast approaches can jostle boats into the dock
- Add easy access to the water: a dock ladder, swim ladder, and/or stairs on the dock edge will make entering and exiting the water and your watercraft that much easier
- Moor and line or dock cleats: Add a moor docking system with dock line for easier boat securing purposes, or attach stainless steel cleats to the dock frame as dock cleats will add a secure hold for your watercraft or water toy
- Add dock lighting: Dock lighting not only adds ambiance but is also important for safety, especially if you like to use your boat when the sun goes down
- Decorate and make it feel homey: You can add outdoor dock furniture or a stainless-steel grill, secured to the platform, for a comfortable outdoor hang-out
- Add dock hardware for your personal watercraft: Add a kayak rack or canoe rack, a paddle board storage rack, or personal watercraft (PWC) ports with kayak launches, a place for your jet ski, kayak docks, or other dock accessories that help you get the most out of your time on the water
- Add a hydraulic boat lift: Keep your watercraft clean and make maintenance and winter storage easier with mount lifts, standing lifts, or a floating lift. A PWC lift will make life so much more convenient and help you save money in the long-run.
- Add dock storage: Adding dock boxes directly on the dock for your Bimini top, furniture, life jackets, and other accessories will make for a more convenient day on the water. A dock storage box is a simple way to ensure you have everything you need when getting ready to go out on the water
Sometimes adding accessories and DIY kits to an existing dock may not be enough, especially if there are critical structural or engineering issues, or if there are rotted-out dock sections. Calling your local dock builder to replace the entire structure is sometimes the safest and most cost-effective way to get a dock upgrade.
Why Choose Norway Nautical for Your Dock Upgrade?
At Norway Nautical, we can help you get ready for the next boating season, adding fun and functionality to your dock. We are a family-owned business that has served the South Florida areas for three generations. Our team has several specialties, including:
Decks and Docks
Building a dock requires a skilled team of experts, as lack of experience by DIY-ers can create serious structural and safety issues when it comes to creating a water-bound structure. A dock’s repairs must also be done to certain specifications to ensure safety. At Norway Nautical our carpenter team uses the best high-quality materials including stainless and marine grade hardware to create decks and custom docks on the water that will meet your needs and work for your unique waterfront property landscape. We provide dock treatment and maintenance services as well.
Storing a boat in the water all day every day can cause serious damage and decrease your boat’s value, leading to more maintenance and costly fees, as well as less time spent on the water in your vessel. A boat lift can help you avoid scum build-up and stains, keep it out of rough waters and storms, and make it easier to get your boat onto a boat trailering system to move it into storage when you are not using it. There are various lift motors and types of lifts fitting different docks and boats to choose from, depending on your needs.
At Norway Nautical, we build each boat lift custom to suit each of our client’s individual needs, and we are partnered with top lift control companies and boat brands, guaranteeing you the best overall prices and high-quality service. As our company has been in this business for decades, we understand how to optimize your lift to best suit your boating lifestyle and needs as a boat owner.
A strong and attractive seawall can make the difference between erosion and encroaching sea on your property, and a strong attractive coastline. Protecting the inland area from wave action will ensure your landforms are not negatively impacted by the ever-moving sea. At Norway Nautical, our seawalls are engineered, with all necessary licenses and permits, guaranteeing you a long-lasting, durable, storm-resistant seawall that will best suit your space. We also offer green options for our environmentally conscious customers.
Living the boat life means you are outdoors more often, enjoying your waterfront space. At Norway Nautical, our award-winning team can create custom outdoor spaces for you with native and exotic plants, cozy places to spend your time, and immaculate-looking waterfront properties landscaping that is certain to impress the neighbors.
Please call us today at (786) 395-3868 to request an estimate, or if you have questions about custom waterfront landscaping for your lake house or permanent dock outdoor spaces, dock and deck building, boat lifts, and seawall construction. Our team of professional and communicative customer service experts will be able to help you with upgrading your dock and creating the outdoor space of your dreams.