As a boat owner, there are many things you need to do to keep your boat in good repair and running well. Besides maintaining your boat's exterior, you should protect your dock and boat from winter ice, and keep the dock well-maintained to help protect your boat. Here are three tips to protect your boat in its dock.
Protect Your Boat From Ice In Winter
If you dock your boat in a freshwater lake or river in the winter, you may have to deal with the water freezing around your boat. When the water temperature decreases, it freezes into ice and expands. Expanding ice can push your boat, and even the dock with your boat up and out of the water, crushing and damaging its hull. To protect your boat from this type of winter damage, you should install a de-icer around your boat's hull.
A motorized de-icer below your boat pulls the lower, warmer water up to the water's surface to prevent the from freezing around your boat. A 1/2 HP or 3/4 HP de-icer can open up a hole in the ice up to 60 feet in diameter.
When your boat is docked in water with a depth of six feet or less, a motorized de-icer won't work as the water at the bottom is not warm enough to keep the surface from freezing. In this situation, you will need to use a bubbling type of de-icer. This type of de-icer lines your boat with tubing pumped with air from a compressor on the dock. This air in the tubing creates bubbles in the water's surface around your boat to prevent the water from freezing.
Protect Your Boat From the Dock
While your boat is sitting in its dock, you need to protect your boat's hull from being damaged by the edges of the dock. The dock is meant to keep your boat protected by securing it in an area of calmer water, but the dock's wooden edges can scrape and crush into your boat when the waves become choppy enough. By attaching rubber or PVC plastic dock bumpers around the edges of your boat's dock, your boat will not rub against any sharp or damaging edges.
You can also position boat fenders around the sides of your boat to protect your boat from unprotected docks. Occasionally you may need to tie your boat up at an unfamiliar dock, but you still want to protect your boat from damage. The boat fenders hang over the side of your boat and create a cushioned barrier from the dock's edges.
Clean Your Boat's Exterior and Hull
It is recommended to check the bottom of your boat, rudders, and propellers every couple of weeks for any aquatic life. Put on a snorkel mask and get in the water while your boat is docked to clean off any barnacles or mussels with a sponge or scrubber. If you routinely clean and maintain the exterior of your boat, your boat's hull won't become overly encrusted with marine life.
Besides damaging your boat hull's protective paint, mussels, barnacles, and other aquatic hitchhikers living on the exterior of your boat will decrease your boat's fuel efficiency with the increased drag in the water. At slow speeds, frictional resistance is about 70% of the total resistance of your boat's hull. The smoother your boat's hull is, the better your fuel efficiency will be.
Also, if you transfer your boat to another body of water without removing any barnacles or mussels, you run the risk of introducing new species into new waters, causing disruptions in the new water's ecosystem. Zebra mussels are a type of mussels that are native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia. They were introduced to the Great Lakes and other waterways in many states and in parts of Canada in 1988, where they now cause problems when they attach to boats and boating equipment in the water.
Read more and use these three tips to help you keep your boat maintained while it is docked.
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