Do you have proper safety in place for your dock?
Sailing is an experience that all the family can enjoy, from the young to the old. But along with all the fun and enjoyment, if your dock isn’t safe, it can be a danger to all who use it.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for these eight dock safety tips you need to know.
1. Have Fire Safety Protocols
Marina and dock fires are dangerous in the fact that they progress fast. You need to have a fire prevention and response plan in place.
The best way to prevent disaster is to provide education to boat owners. Make sure they know the hazards to look out for an avoid.
Teach boat owners how to operate a fire extinguisher and hose. They should know the locations of these so they can get them quick in an emergency. And make sure they know the PASS system (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep).
Have well-maintained, working fire extinguishers can put out a small fire. It could be what stops it from raging out of control. Take time to have the right fire safety equipment in place, and look after it. Make sure boat owners and staff know their responsibilities and what they should do.
2. Make Sure Electrical Installations and Maintenance Are Up to Scratch
Make sure to use a professional contractor for all electrical installations. They should have experience and be familiar with marine standards and codes.
It’s important that you have a proper plan and layout for electrical systems. This is to reduce the risk of electric shock drowning (ESD). This is the term for in-water electricution and drowning.
The body becomes paralyzed from the shock. This means you can’t get out of the water or prevent yourself from going under, resulting in drowning.
Your systems should also have a thorough check every year by a professional. The docks and boats should all go through this testing. It pays to be thorough and ensure a safe space for everyone.
3. Install Proper Lighting
Not all boating and sailing happens during daylight hours. And there are times when even during the day, weather conditions give poor visability. For these situations, it’s important for staff and owners alike that your dock is well lit.
Go with a practical solution like solar piling caps. They’re stylish, solar powered lights that look great and brigten up your dock. Not only do they make the space more enjoyable, but they’re a big safety feature too.
Lights will make your dock more visible for boaters at night. This will reduce the chance of an unwanted crash or accident. This should be one of the first steps you take when protecting dock users from marine accidents.
4. Keep Safety Equipment at the Ready
You should have safety equipment onsite thats easy to access. This should include things like:
- first aid kits
- life vests
- fire extinguisher
- navigation lights
- emergency radio
Keep these in a fibreglass dock box that’s easy to access in an emergency.
Also, make sure you test your equipment on a regular basis, to make sure it’ll always work. Protect your equipment from the elements to make sure it’s always there and usable if you need it.
5. Track Weather Conditions
It’s not enough to only have one way to track the weather, make sure you have several methods set up. A computer system and a weather radio that has NOAA/NWS alerts are a great combination to set up.
Boat owners will come to you as the first line of defense. You should be the first warning of any storms coming that will make the waters too dangerous.
Make sure you warn them, and get them to stay on land. The last thing you want is sailors heading out into danger on your watch. Tracking weather gives you that information to keep people safe.
If you’re a larger dock with a marina bar or clubhouse, you could tie these warnings in to events. Offer specials, or activities so people still have fun while staying safe on land.
6. Stay on Top of Repairs
Carry out any repairs in a prompt fashion, and do them completely. This includes issues like:
- cracked/broken boards
- missing nails
- loose railings
- faded safety signs
Don’t rely on ‘band aid’ quick fixes. Not only will they not last long, you run the risk of making the issue worse down the line. This increases the risk of injury and accidents for users. It likely will also increase the costs you’ll end up paying out for a proper repair job.
There will be situations where you need to do a temporary patch immediately. If you do this, don’t delay in getting a perminent fix as soon as possible. Always go with a professional contactor who has experience with docks and marinas.
7. Keep a Tidy Ship
A clean, tidy, well-cared for dock is a safe one. It’s important you pressure wash your dock on a regular basis. This will remove any tripping/slipping dangers like dirt, debris and moss/algea.
If you have a wooden dock, be careful when pressure washing though. If you do it too much, or for too long, you can soften the wood. This makes it more susceptible to warping and splintering.
In these cases, it’s a good idea to sand the wooden boards after each wash. This will help prevent any injuries caused to bare skin from wood splinters. You should also paint or seal your wood every 4-5 years for protection.
For any of the metal/steel elements of your dock, keep an eye out for rust. Not only can this take away from the aesthetic appeal, it’s also a safety hazard. Rust can cause sharp edges, and also compromise the structure of your dock.
Sand these spots down, prime them and paint them with a weather seal/paint as soon as you spot the rust. If you don’t know how to care for these elements, it’s a good idea to call in a professional.
8. Keep a Photo Record
This might sound unconventional, but it’s a great way to keep track of the dock’s condition. Pick a set of angles and locations, then take consistent photos each month.
This can help pick up any areas that need repairs, or a total remodel. It can also help detect hazards before they cause an issue or injury.
If you sustain damage that you can claim from your insurers, it’s a help there too. It’s a photo record you can provide to back up your claim.
Dock Safety Made Easy
So, there you have it! Now you know these eight dock safety tips, you’ll be sure to keep your dock up to scratch.
Safety should be at the front of your mind always. Make sure you track weather conditions and communitcate it with users. Make sure you attend to any repairs immediately and keep your dock clean, tidy and in good condition. Prevention is key, always be alert and prepared for anything.
If you’re looking to start upgrading your dock’s safety lights, contact us today. And DokLite, we have the knowledge and expertise for all your lighting needs.