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Dock in or Dock out? What is the answer?

Published on September 4, 2016 by Sweet Marie

Lakeside Cottage Dock

It is often a tough call to make in the fall when you are hosting cottage rentals well into the winter months, if not all year long. The versatile yet not so weather resistant floating raft/dock is one of the few lakeside cottage perks that is always in need of repair or maintenance, especially if you have a deep shoreline and reside in cold wintery climates.

Cottage owners are often in turmoil over when to leave in and when to pull up for the winter and spring. The climate shift has definitely occurred and the winters are coming in much more powerful, colder and longer. The ice forms a very thick layer which when freezes creates an arm that expands and contracts with any shift in the water ways currents. Moreover, when the ice melts, that same arm will pull on the chains holding the raft/dock in place attached to the dock anchors which lay at the bottom of the water way, often covered in mirk and dirty. Over time and seasons, those dock anchors sink further and further into the lake bed and when the chains pull down suddenly they will snap. This creates a stress on the floating dock/raft that has a seriously negative impact on the condition and position of your floating dock. Moreover, like us, if your floating dock has a ramp to enter and depart from the mainland, the shoreline that too is at risk of sinking if it’s not pulled out and placed in safe spot. No easy feat. Those docks and ramps are not light weight. And moving something in the fall or spring that has been situated in seasons of muck is again no easy task. And what about your fall guests who would love to enjoy the last few days of decent weather by the lakeside and possibly do some canoeing? How does that work? No one likes to muddle in such affairs when it is freezing outside and the threat of falling into a very, very cold lake is a very real possibility.

Is there a happy medium? What can the solution be? Besides recreating a complete shoreline with gradual slope entry, not a whole lot of options:

  1. Buy a case of beer, call some buddies cut the chains and yank her out. You can buy new anchors in the spring and start over. You may end up doing this every year so not ideal for your permanent solution.
  2. Pull the dock close enough to the shoreline – if possible – to pull the ramp off and onto the dock for the winter.
  3. Purchase a light weight floating dock that may be more expensive – but have more options on closing down for the season.
  4. There are some very costly pulley systems that have benefit for aiding in maintenance as well as shut down.

The options are in fact quite limited – though the risks are large. Whatever you decide to do, just remember to proceed with caution, extra help, and work under fair weather conditions.

Image Source: stockk2 via Instagram

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