Whether you’re perfecting wakeboard ollies, towing kids on a tube, or repeatedly casting your lure in search of the big one, summertime at the cottage often means countless hours spent on the water.
But when it comes time to stop playing—even if it’s just for a short break—it’s important to have the right equipment installed on your dock to protect your boat from damage.
We spoke with Rick Hickson, founder of R & J Machine, about the best methods for making sure your dock is boat friendly.
What can a cottager do to protect a boat from the damage that’s typically caused by bumping up against a dock?
It’s normally recommended that dock bumpers get placed on any part of dock against that your boat may rub.
On docks that sit high out of the water it is recommended to attach an additional lower bumper board as well as the regular bumper pad. If a ‘P’ style pad is being used, place it upside down on the lower bumper board. If your boat (such as a PWC of small aluminum boat) sits low in the water, this will protect it.
However, the best protection is offered by a boat lift. By lifting your boat up and out of the water not only is it protected from the waves, but also from dirt that accumulates while sitting in the water. There are various types of boat lifts available, such as cantilever, vertical and hydraulic.
Is there a dock configuration or shape that’s best for cottagers with multiple boats?
A lot of cottagers with numerous boats like to put in a T or U-shaped docks as these provide more surface space.
What are the most common dock add-ons for tying boats?
The most common method of securing your boat is the folding style of cleat as they come in a variety of sizes and finishes, the most popular of which is the 6” style.
If you are in an area where there is a lot of wind or wake, mooring whips are also a popular accessory to put on your dock—these will help keep your boat off the dock.