From fishing and skiing to rest and relaxation, the benefits of owning a boat are easy to see. Unfortunately, with the purchase of a boat comes the need for a dock. Renting a dock is a possibility, but the long-term fees can become enormous. Of course, building your own boat dock at your home or vacation property is a smart investment, but proper maintenance is essential to protecting the environment.
While surprising to hear, an estimated 5 million acres of lakes and 300,000 miles of rivers and streams do not meet safe water requirements. This affects your use of your boat for swimming, water sports, and fishing, and should influence the cleaning products you use on your docks. To protect your local water source, consider using these natural solutions to clean and maintain your boat dock.
To prevent the buildup of heavy dirt and debris, consider washing your dock every few months. Utilizing a pressure washer is an effective method of removing light residue, but also for preventing harmful growth of mold or mildew.
Rent, borrow, or purchase a medium-duty pressure washer that offers 2,000 to 3,000 PSI, or Pounds per Square Inch, of water pressure. A higher level of water pressure may warp, splinter, and break your wood docking boards.
Hold your sprayer nozzle a few feet away from the dock and begin spraying the wood surface. Work your way across your dock, using side-sweeping motions, to wash the surface efficiently.
Baking soda is a must-have ingredient for your arsenal of natural cleaning products. This white, powdery substance contains sodium bicarbonate, which creates carbonation when it comes in contact with moisture on a surface. This carbonation will easily dissolve away dirt and lake or ocean debris from your boat deck without polluting the water.
In an outdoor pump sprayer, combine the following:
- 1 gallon of water
- 2 cups of baking soda
Shake the container to mix before dousing the boat dock. Allow the baking soda solution to soak the wood for 30 minutes before rinsing with your hose or a pressure washer.
Even with periodic cleaning, your dock will most likely develop mold, mildew, and algae. These dark green, brown, or black patches of growth are not only dangerous to your health, but can also reduce the look and sturdiness of your dock.
After seeing this growth, your first inclination may be to use bleach. While effective, chlorinated bleach negatively affects the quality of water and can kill surrounding flowers, trees, and grass. Plus, bleach can easily irritate your skin and eyes while causing issues with your respiratory system.
Thankfully, vinegar is a natural option for killing mold, mildew, and algae from your boat dock. In an outdoor sprayer, combine the following:
- 2 gallons of water
- 2 gallons of white vinegar
Spray the vinegar solution on patches of mold, mildew, and algae. Allow it to soak the surface for 30 minutes before rinsing with your pressure washer. For stubborn patches, scrub with a soft-bristled brush.
It is important to note that this growth has most likely developed underneath your boat dock, as well. Cleaning the growth from underneath your dock will require you to get into the water if you are able to swim. Use precaution when working in the water.
Cleaning your wood dock is important, but protecting it with an application of sealant is also necessary. When shopping for a wood sealant, be sure to choose one specifically designed for marine-life. These eco-friendly sealers do not harm freshwater or oceanic wildlife or pollute the water or surrounding environment.
Investing in a boat is a great option for you and your family. However, ensuring your boat has a proper dock is essential. Using these tips, you can maintain your boat dock without the use of harsh cleaning chemicals. For more tips on caring for your dock, you may want to contact a local marine construction company.