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Doctoring the docks after Labor Day

A little fall maintenance now can preserve your lake landings over the winter

POSTED: September 3, 2010 12:30 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Dock owners are advised to check the cables that secure the dock to prevent it from coming loose over the fall and winter.

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On the last weekend of the summer season, plenty of people will be out on the shores of Lake Lanier having fun with family and friends on their docks.

But when Labor Day weekend is over, it's time to start considering how to prepare your dock for the fall and winter season.

There's not a whole lot of winterization that has to be done, but according to Gordon Guyett, there are still small tasks that dock owners should keep up with.

"I constantly in the fall have to fight the spiders. Seemed like you have to spray a lot in the fall to keep down the webs," said Guyett, who has lived on Lake Lanier for 12 years. "You have to keep an eye at the level of the lake all winter long because the levels keep changing."

Guyett says to check the cables that secure the dock to shore or you may find your dock floating out in the lake.

"We went away for two weeks and when we came back ... one of the cables came loose and it (the dock) kind of swings around and floats up onto the shore."

Ice forming on the top of the water also is a concern when winter sets in but it shouldn't hurt the dock too much.

"Ice is not going to affect the dock; it'll only affect boats that are in the water or boats up above the water if you haven't winterized," he said.

Yet winter months can be treacherous for boats and the machinery housed inside the hull. Which is where local professional fisherman Eric Aldrich sees most of the problems during the fall and winter months.

"One thing I do see is people leave their boats in the water. They should pull them out or put them on a lift or remove them from the water and put them on a trailer," he said. "The engine blocks can actually break from freezing water — that's a common thing. And they can also get algae growth and other types of aquatic parasites on them.

"You also want to keep up with lake levels and move your docks up and down accordingly. I've seen where when the lake levels drop they actually can break a dock."

Brandon Elliott, an employee at Browns Bridge Dock Company in Gainesville, said there are just a couple things to keep up with on your dock during the winter months.

"As the lake goes down make sure it (the dock) says in the water," he said. "The main thing is checking the anchoring and make sure the dock is always floating and in deep enough water.

"Maintain your winches and hinges. One thing you do need to do periodically every month is if you have anchor poles, raise your poles and reset them. They are on the dock itself on the corners. Not all docks have them but half do."



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