Below are my top 3 accessories that I feel are MUST HAVES for any boat dock:
1. Cleats – Dock Cleats are by far the most important accessory for any dock. Made from a variety of materials and several styles to choose from, cleats ensure that watercraft and their passengers are secure while at your dock. Not only do cleats ensure that docking and undocking is safely maneuvered it also ensures that the watercraft remains as steady as possible while passengers board and unboard. A loose dock line can allow the watercraft to sway further away from the dock and create an unsafe situation for boarding. A dock without cleats could leave you scrambling to find an object to tie off to while the watercraft bumps around on your dock. You also run a risk of the dock line coming loose when it is not properly secured onto a cleat.
The most common types of cleats include:
- Galvanized Steel – Cast with 2 holes for installation using Hex Bolts, it’s an easy installation for any do it yourself project. They are available various sizes with the most common size ranging from 4″ to 12″.
- Flip-up or Fold-down – The mounting holes on these cleats are recessed so that the bolts stay clear of attached lines. Simply flip-up the cleat to use and fold down the cleat into the low profile base when not in use. Also available in many colors and sizes you can find one to fit practically any area.
- Angled Aluminum Rail Dock Cleats (Dock Builders Cleats) – Easily slides into place and fits most OEM dock builder style docks with an aluminum extrusion.
- Solar Lighted – Attractive and functional with powerful solar charging performance and mooring strength. Lights are built into the cleat, are waterproof and automatically turn on-at dusk.
2. Lighting – Once again, there are thousands of products to choose from and so many ways you could enhance your dock with lights. But, at minimum you must have enough lighting, in the right places, and at the right time. The MUST have is enough light for safe footing for all pedestrians while on the dock and for safe boarding and access onto the dock.. If your dock protrudes out into the waterway you may want to consider a light to warn off other boaters, placed on the farthest end of the dock.
Here are some simple lighting tips that help provide that safe environment:
- Solar motion lights can be mounted practically anywhere. Be sure to test them out before mounting them to be sure the motion is detected at the distance needed. Some can be mounted on poles, posts, walls and some have their own pedestals. You’ll be able to select the height and distance to place them from the area you intend to light.
- Solar Dock Cleats are a great way to provide simple lighting in just the right areas. Use Solar lighted cleats in the area you need to light up or use more to enhance the character of your dock space.
- Flexible Strip or Rope lighting is a very inexpensive way to provide lighting in any area. They are flexible and can be shaped and positioned practically anywhere. Choose solar charged in order to eliminate trip hazards such as cords and plugs.
3. Ladders – Be sure there is a way to access the dock from the water. No one wants to think of an incident with a small child or animal falling into the water and not being able to climb out. Ladders are available in a variety of materials, lengths and price.
- Fixed Ladders are securely fastened to the dock surface and remain stationary for a safe climb.
- Flip-Up Ladders securely fasten to the dock surface but swings up and out of the way, locking in place when not in use.
- Slide-Up Ladders securely fasten to the dock surface and have convenient cords for raising and lowering the steps.
Now that you have installed the 3 MUST HAVES for your dock, and you’re confident that your dock is safe, you can think about how you want to personalize your dock space according to your lifestyle. You may use your dock space as your social outdoor area and you may need additional lighting, some added dock protection around the perimeter as well as your dock pilings, or a dock box to store your boating products. Whatever your needs are you are sure to find the product of your choice.