One of the most common questions we get from customers is “Can we leave our dock in over the winter?”. The question is always followed up with “Is your dock floating or on legs?”. If they answer “on legs” the answer is simple, “No, standing docks HAVE to be removed before ice forms on the body of water”. Why standing docks are required to be removed will be covered more in depth in the next section. For now, we will discuss the winter storage options for floating docks. Answering our customer’s questions in regards to leaving the dock in over the winter for floating docks isn’t a simple yes or no. The option to leave your floating dock in the ice over the winter has a few variables. The biggest variable is ice movement. Water is nature’s most powerful force, when ice forms and shifts around due to wind direction and currents, it can cause A LOT of damage. If your waterfront bares the brunt of ice movement in the early stages of spring, you are better off taking your dock out. If your waterfront is sheltered from ice movement, this is the ideal condition that allows for your floating dock to stay in the lake over the winter. In regards to rivers, if large chunks of ice flow down river, take your dock out.
Now that we’ve covered whether you can or cannot leave your dock in. Here are some tips on preparing to leave your floating dock in over the winter.
Leave Your Dock In The Lake
This is the easiest option for winter dock storage but is only viable under certain conditions. First off, your waterfront needs be sheltered from severe ice dams and movement. Any ramp sections connecting your dock to shore will need be to be removed and stored. The floating sections will then need to be relieved from their anchors (we recommend just loosening the chains connecting your dock to your anchors) and move the dock to the most sheltered spot along your waterfront. Lastly, the dock sections need to be tied to something stable on shore (a well rooted tree works best).
Preparing your standing dock sections for winter is simple, the dock has to come out. There is no debating this, leaving a standing dock in over the winter will cause severe damage to the dock and will void any warranty. Here are some tips to prepare your dock for winter that will save you time and possibly money in the Spring.
Tag Your Sections
For a standing dock system, the leg adjustments and connector brackets are unique to the section. Tagging each section as you take them out allows you to prepare the order to which the docks will go back out in the spring.
How to Store Your Dock
Once the dock is pulled out of the water it needs to be stored somewhere. Ideally somewhere close to shore so you will not have to carry sections too far when you put them back in the Spring. Having wheel kits on your dock makes this process even easier. If you are stacking your sections on shore, place some wood at the bottom of the stack. This will not only minimize the amount of dirt that will make its way into your decking but allow for a tighter stacking of the sections and maintain the various leg lengths.