Revving up for Boating Season: A Checklist

Warming temperatures mean one thing – lake time! With the beautiful lakes of central and western SC, Lake Hartwell, Keowee, Bowen, Murray, and more, beckoning for fun, many are pulling their boats from storage and prepping their personal docks.  But before spending countless days at a lake soaking up the southern sun, it’s important to make sure your watercraft and dock are in good condition. 

We’ve taken the work out of determining if your dock is ready with a simple checklist:

Dock & Gangway Structure 

Inspecting for visible damage is crucial not only at the start of the boating season but all year. If not taken care of, damage can grow leading to larger repairs. Make sure to check over all of the following related to your dock and structure:

  • Check visible welds for cracks – Ensuring the structure is solid is a top priority. Prolonging any repairs may cause additional damage and higher replacement costs.
  • Look for loose or rusted bolts – All bolts should be rust-free and tight. Replace any that are rusted. 
  • Take a close look at the roof panels – Over time, panels can loosen. Make sure all panels are intact and secure. 
  • Check your floats – Aside from checking your dock floats for any visible damage, also check for sinking. If there are any low spots where the dock appears to sink down, a dock builder will need to inspect and replace them. 
  • Check cables for any damage – Inspect cables for fraying or electrolysis damage, and if any is found, quickly replace. We highly recommend using stainless steel cables for their strength and longevity.  Stay away from galvanized or coated cable that can fray or rust quicker.
  • Fix any issues with your decking materials – Check any pressure-treated wood for weathering and restain if needed.  If you have IPE decking instead of wood, make sure to use oil vs traditional wood stain. 

Lifts Components
After little use during fall & winter, checking your lifts is crucial for safety when using your watercrafts again in the spring. Here are our top areas to inspect in your lift components:

  • Check your winches – Try your winches and see if they are operating properly.  Winches may need to be re-greased before use.
  • Inspect hoses and cables – Look for any cracks or weathering of your hoses and look for any visible damage to cables. If anything looks to be damaged, call your dock builder to repair it before using the lift.
  • Inspect Boat bunks – Worn carpet or rubber will create a rubbing area for the hull and can potentially damage the boat. It will also make it harder for the boat to slide on and off. 

Pressure Wash To Deep Clean
Pressure washing is also an important step that we recommend doing periodically throughout the year.  Removing dirt and mold buildup from your dock and lifts not only gives everything a new shine but can help to extend the life of parts.  Mold can grow quickly on decking materials, especially when the dock goes without use for a long time. Grime from repetitive lake water exposure can build up on metal parts of boat and PWC lifts, making them rust. Pressure washing your lifts will help extend their lifespan and keep everything in good working order. Make sure when pressure washing to not have the hose too close to any decking or other materials that can easily damage from the force of the water. 

Do not use chlorine to clean your dock
On wood, the chlorine kills algae, moss, and mildew, but not spores. It also breaks down the lignin that holds the wood together, causing excessive damage to otherwise healthy wood. The corrosive effects of chlorine bleach on wood docks are cumulative. Bleach literally bleaches the wood, resulting in a lightening of wood’s natural coloration. Not only does chlorine bleach break down wood fibers and alter the color, but it also corrodes metal fasteners, including the screws and nails holding your deck together.

Notice issues?  That’s where your local dock builder can help. Weld repairs and damage to any lifting components should be inspected by a reputable dock builder or repair company.  Master Docks serves lakes throughout NC, SC, and North Georgia, specifically, but not limited to, Lake Keowee, Lake Hartwell, Lake Murray, Lake Bowen, Lake Adger, Lake Lanier (NC), Lake Blalock, Lake Greenwood, and Lake Jocassee. We offer dock & lift maintenance and repair, as well as Dock monitoring services for specific lakes.  For help repairing your dock, lift, gangway, or dock accessories, call us today at (864) 205-7898 or fill out our online form.