If you’ve ever owned a vessel, you would know the dangers of docking it. Docking a ship is a very complicated process. A careless docking maneuver can end up with major repercussions. Your vessel could accidentally smash into another vessel or worse, injure or even kill someone.
Accidents happen in drydocks all the time. If you want your vessel to be as safe as possible, you will need to take the necessary precautions. Here are 6 handy tips on how to make your dock as accident-proof as possible.
1. Keep flammable items away from the dock
Although a dock is situated near the water, there are still fire hazards. Some types of ship repair equipment are flammable. Paint, gas, oil, and other types of cargo are flammable. There is also welding equipment that emits sparks when used. Combine this with spilled gas, a row of ships that are haphazardly docked, and you have an accident waiting to happen.
So, make sure that you store flammable materials away from the dockyard. You can store them in a warehouse or a shed, just as long as they are far away from the dockyard and the many ships docked there.
2. Use an assortment of docking accessories
One of the biggest risks in docking a boat is the risk of it colliding with the dock. Docks are either made of wood or concrete. But once they collide with a vessel, the effects are usually still the same. The hull gets punctured and the dock gets heavily damaged. Ship and dock repair are equally expensive and the dangers are quite real. This is why you should invest in docking accessories such as plastic floating dock cubes.
These types of docks are usually made out of plastic, heavily buoyant, and very versatile. They can be constructed in various shapes and can be placed in front of your docks. They form a stable surface that you can walk on and also form a barrier around your dockyard. That way, should there be any errors in your ship docking, the floating docks will be the ones that take the brunt of the impact.
Floating docks are also easily constructed and deconstructed, so there is no danger of them getting damaged. Overall, floating docks are great ways to keep your dockyard safe and provide a great floating platform that you and your crew can use.
3. Paint the dock in bright colors
Aside from using floating docks, it is also a good idea to paint your docks in bright colors. The docking process is a complicated one. This is especially true during difficult situations such as stormy weather. So, you will need to make the dock as visible as possible.
This is technically the same principle used by parking lots. They use bright colors such as yellow to make parking a lot easier. So, take as many precautions as possible and paint your dock in bright colors.
4. Make your docks as sturdy as possible
Most personal docks are made of wood or plastic. But, their foundations are usually made of concrete and steel to provide a sturdy hold. Your docks are like parking spaces for your boats. They should not only be able to keep them tethered to dry land but should also be flood-proof.
Remember that during storms, the seas can be very intense. The sea level usually rises and the waves haphazardly smash against your boats and dock. So, it is important that you provide a drain from where the excess water will sieve out.
5. Double-check the dock for loose wires
There is a myriad of electrical components in a boat and whenever a boat docks, they need to be recharged. This is why there are various electrical tools and equipment scattered over most docks. There are also hazards that can leave you electrocuted. This is why you should be extremely careful and double-check your dock for loose wiring.
It is also essential that you use a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI. It acts as a sort of safety net for loose wires. Should there be any electrical malfunctions, it instantly shuts off the current. It is an essential piece of hardware for your dock.
6. Provide adequate lighting
There may be times where you have to dock your vessel at nighttime. Although you may count yourself as an expert sailor, accidents could still occur. This is why you should provide adequate lighting in your dock. You can have them installed on to your dock or even underneath it.
When installing light fixtures to your dock, it is always a good idea to line them along the water’s edge and the pathway. That way, when you are docking your vessel, you can keep track of both the dock and the part underneath it. This is especially important if there are jutting pieces of rock or lumber underneath the water.
As it was stated earlier, docks are open to the elements. This means that they not only need to be sturdy, they also need proper and regular maintenance. Overall when it comes to maintaining your docks, consistency is key.