In some ways your dock is a tool. It’s useful and practical, a means to an end: access to the water and your boat. But if you have a family, your boat dock probably also has a pretty intimate relationship with fun and play. That makes it all the more important to assure your dock is family-friendly and as safe as possible.
To keep your family safe on and by the water, consider these upgrades, including some great dock accessories, for your waterfront space:
- Lighting: Early morning fishing outings? Late night stroll on the dock? Swimming at dusk? Make sure these activities are well lighted to avoid accidents and unnecessary risk. Solar lights are a great accessory for safety and accessibility.
- Cables: check all cables on your boat lift and elsewhere for signs of excessive wear or corrosion. Be sure they don’t interfere with moving freely on the dock. Cables should be checked at the beginning and end of each season and intermittently throughout the season.
- Regular maintenance and cleaning: not only will this keep your dock looking great, it will extend its life, help you avoid more costly repairs, and keep the dock safer with a smooth, sturdy, level surface for your family to enjoy.
- Anchor and store loose items: loose items on your dock can be a hazard in rough weather. For a safer dock space, anchor items like seating, or store them when not in use.
- Moor and cover boat: mooring your boat in a slip will keep people safer as they embark and disembark the vessel or whenever there’s activity on the dock. A covered boat will stay in better condition which leads to better safety for the whole family.
- Bumpers: a sufficient amount of quality bumpers can help keep your family safe in many ways. It will absorb shock, protecting the boat, the dock, and your family in case of a hard landing.
- Stairs and ladders: if you have large steps up or down or the dock is used for swimming, stairs and ladders are a great way to increase the safety of your family. Ladders are also beneficial in case of a fall and for general accessibility.
- Corner sections: do you have kids or even pets that like jumping the corners of your dock? You can discourage this dangerous behavior and add a little more space for people to maneuver by adding corner dock sections.
- Gate: especially if you have young kids, a gate at the edge of dock, at the stairs leading down to the dock, or anywhere that it makes sense on your property can help prevent younger family members from gaining access to the water without permission or supervision.
- Life jacket: for kids or people without strong swimming ability, it’s smart to keep life jackets in a place that’s accessible before getting on the dock. This way, your more vulnerable family members can be protected before setting foot over water.