Safe practices on and around docks and marinas are similar to safe practices on boats. Children under 12 should always wear a life jacket when on a dock, and it does not matter if it is a public dock or a private dock. Adults should wear a life jacket as well. If you inadvertently fall into the water and hit your head, a life jacket can give you a chance. If you are drinking while on any dock you should always have a life jacket on.
If you are a dock owner you have an additional responsibility to maintain your dock so your family, friends, visitors, and neighbors can feel safe on and around your dock.
Here are some items that should be checked and maintained to ensure the safety of your dock.
- Check your swim ladder to make sure it is securely connected
- Inspect the decking for splinters, screws or nails, to make sure they will not injure bare feet
- Check your handrails on the dock and ramp to make sure they are safe and secure
- If the dock has electrical power you should install a device that will monitor the surrounding water for stray electrical currents. Electrical currents in water can cause electrical shock and can be deadly.
- Check your anchor stakes to make sure they are securely in the ground
- Check the cable clamps on the anchor stakes
- Check the locking mechanism on your winches
- Inspect your cable for wear/rust
- Inspect cleats make sure they are secure
- Measure the frame of the boat dock to the water and make sure you have at least 4 inches from the frame to the water. If not add or replace floatation
- Check the dock padding/bumpers