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Winter is Coming: How to Winterize Your Residential Dock & Boat Lift

When it’s time to pull out the wool socks and sweaters, you know it’s time to winterize your boat and RV. Along with preparing your residential dock and lift, there’s a lot to do before the chill in the air settles in and the snow begins to fly.

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.

If you’re an avid boater and water-sport fanatic, putting away the water toys and lifting your boat above water for the last time can make you long for the return of the boating season. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your equipment is ready to go as soon as the snow is off the ground.

When that time arrives, you can kick off the summer season with ease and excitement, knowing everything is working as it should. Plus, with a boat lift, you’re able to save on storage fees and hit the water sooner than those that store their boat. We definitely recommend taking care of your dock and lift, so you can keep enjoying this additional perk.

How to winterize your residential dock and boat lift - Shoreline Pile Driving

Here are some of the necessary steps to take when preparing your dock and lift for the winter season:

1. Store all Accessories

If you keep your paddleboards, kayaks, and extra-large inflatable peacock either tethered to or stored on your dock all summer, you’ll definitely want to put those away. Whether that means putting the watercraft on shelving or in a storage shed, you’ll want to make sure they’re not in a place where ice and snow can damage them.

2. Tie the Floating Dock System

If you have a floating dock, you’ll want to make sure the shoreline connection is secure. Sometimes winter storms can cause weakened ties to loosen off and cause damage. If your dock is small, consider removing it from the water during the winter season. It doesn’t happen often, but if the water along the shores of Okanagan Lake freezes, your floating dock may get damaged.

3. Clean and Seal the Decking

It’s good practice to clean the deck of your dock at least once a year, though we recommend doing it more often than that. Sometimes algae and other harmful bacteria can cause damage during the off-season. By properly cleaning the deck, you can ensure its condition remains pristine come spring.

While you’re cleaning the deck, be sure to check for dock deficiencies that will need repair. Permitting can take up to 140 days, so it’s really important to get those repairs started as soon as you can.

4. Blow Out Water Lines

To ensure the water inside the lines doesn’t freeze and cause damage, you’ll need to blow air through the lines. This is an important step in the winterization process, and is sometimes overlooked.

5. Service the Boat Lift

Just like your boat, your lift needs winterization as well. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, hire a reputable dock builder or lift provider. They’ll know exactly what to do and can get the job done correctly and efficiently.

Not sure which company is best for the job? Our previous post, 5 Questions to Ask a Kelowna Residential Dock Builder, discusses some of the best questions you can ask when narrowing down your choice.

Bonus: Helpful tips from the professionals:

  • Single mast boat lift – bring the cradle all the way up and out of the water.
  • Personal watercraft lift – make sure the cradle is up as far as it will go.
  • High-voltage 4 post boat lift – bring cradle all the way up, install winter storage chains (if available), and make sure the power is turned off.
  • Low-voltage four-post boat lift – make sure the cradle is all the way up and the winter storage chains are installed (if available). You can keep the chargers plugged in over the winter months, but if you decide to power it down, bring the batteries inside.

Consider Shoreline Pile Driving to make sure your dock and lift stay protected all winter long.