How to Paint Boat Docks

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Keeping a boat dock in good shape is nearly as important as keeping your boat in good shape. Docks have to withstand the elements, and, over time, exposure to the weather can take a toll. You can prevent costly repairs by acting now to maintain your dock. Just a few coats of paint on your permanent (non-portable) boat dock will not only make it look better, it can also protect the dock from the weather and, if you use a non-slip paint, can prevent falls.

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff-bristled broom
  • Marine paint primer
  • Non-slip boat dock paint
  • Roller pan
  • Roller brushes
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sweep the dock very well to get rid of dirt and debris. The dock surface needs to be clean for painting.

  • Prime the dock using a fluffy paint roller if the dock is concrete. If the dock has wood or aluminum planks, apply the primer with a large paintbrush or smooth (short-nap) roller--this will help the primer go on more smoothly.

  • Let the primer dry completely and then mix the paint and pour it into a roller pan. Brush on the paint as you did the primer. Make sure you cover all the top surface as well as the sides of the planks.

  • Apply the second coat after the first has dried completely. When it is no longer sticky to the touch, it should be ready for the next coat. This may take an entire day, depending on weather conditions and the type of paint you use.

  • Let the dock paint cure for a few days before using it for anything. Rope it off or post signs to keep people off it during this time.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can buy paint and primer suitable for docks at most hardware or home improvement stores.
  • It doesn't really matter where you begin to prime or paint, but if you want to stay out of the water, don't forget to start at the end of the dock and move toward land when priming and painting (or you'll paint yourself right off the dock).
  • Make sure you have at least a couple of clear days' forecast. It's best if the new paint doesn't get rained on until it is fully dried and has a little time to cure.
  • Some kinds of paint and primer may harm wildlife. While doing this job, avoid dripping these into the water.

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