Tired of dealing with algae on the hull of your boat?
Or having to apply anti-fouling paint that damages your boat’s coat and pollutes the environment?
Well, there is a great solution for both of these problems:
With an air dock, you can keep your boat out of the water without having to haul it to land.
Sound great, doesn’t it?
But what exactly are air docks? How do they work? And why do we say anyone that doesn’t have one is missing out?
Today, we’re going to answer all of these questions for you. This is our complete guide to air docks.
Table of Contents
What are Air Docks?
Have you ever tried hauling your boat out of the water?
Unless you’re using an inflatable boat, this can be very difficult. Full solid boats and RIBs have hard hulls. That’s why a lot of people prefer to leave these types of boats on the water.
However, this creates several problems.
For one, algae love boats left on the water. Before long, you’ll find your hull speckled all over with these green organisms. And you’ll find that this is a real headache to get rid of.
To deal with this problem, air docks were invented.
Air docks are inflatable devices that hold your boat above the water. They are highly buoyant, allowing them to carry even medium-sized boats without sinking.
Let’s find out.
How Do Air Docks Work?
Air docks are surprisingly simple to use. All you have to do is park your boat above the submerged air dock, hook ropes to keep the boat in place, and turn on the pumps. It only takes around 5 minutes to do everything.
Some air docks have metal parts to add sturdiness to your boat. It will hold your boat in place very well, ensuring that nothing moves it while it is parked. You can even walk on and off your boat without losing your balance.
Other boat docks are fully inflatable. Instead of using a rigid metal structure, these inflatables contour to the shape of the hull to hold it in place.
Another thing about air docks is that they aren’t only easy to inflate, but deflate as well. When you want to use your boat, all you have to do is click a button and wait. This will automatically deflate the air dock.
That’s all great, but why should you get an air dock instead of, say, applying anti-fouling paint? Isn’t that a lot less hassle?
It may seem like it’s less hassle, but going for an air dock is better than anti-fouling paint for several reasons. Let’s have a look.
Why Use an Air Dock?
At first, anti-fouling paint sounds like a good option. With it, you can leave your boat in the water without worrying about damage. Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems with anti-fouling paint.
Sure, anti-fouling paint prevents algae, but the chemical reaction it causes can be bad for your boat. Before long, you’ll find that your hull no longer looks as good as it used to.
The value of your boat will drop dramatically when you do this. It will lose its pride and beauty. And if you plan to sell your boat someday, you can only sell it for so much.
Not only that, but anti-fouling paint also slows your boat down. The extra layer of paint adds a lot more drag to your boat. This cuts down your boat’s speed significantly.
If that’s not enough, anti-fouling paint is also bad for the environment. You’ve surely heard about how polluted our waters are becoming. By using anti-fouling paint, you are also contributing to this.
Finally, it’s a hassle. Yes, you can leave the boat in the water, but the paint wears away eventually. That’s why you’ll have to find a way to get your boat off the water for painting every now and then.
All of these make an air dock a much better option.
With an air dock, you can preserve the value of your boat. With it off the water, algae won’t get a chance to grow. And without any chemicals applied, the protective coat on your hull will stay intact.
Without extra drag, you can also enjoy riding the waves at much better speeds. Furthermore, you won’t be destroying the natural body of water that you are enjoying.
An air dock is also super convenient. All you have to do is install it once and you can keep using it. If you don’t always dock in the same place, it’s not all that difficult to bring along either.
All of these make air docks wonderful to have around. It’s hassle-free, it’s good for your boat, and it’s good for the environment as well.
How Long Do Air Docks Last?
As durable as air docks are, they don’t last forever. That said, with some simple maintenance work, your air dock should last you a long, long time.
The best air docks in the market can last more than 50 years!
That is, with proper care and maintenance of course. But imagine that, 50 years! You’re never going to have to replace it anytime soon.
Can You Use Air Docks During Winter?
What about when the snow starts to fall? Will your air dock still work?
The answer is no. It’s not a good idea to allow ice to get to your air dock.
The reason why people keep their boats during winter is that ice is a killer. It can damage boats a lot, and can even destroy them.
That’s why you won’t want ice getting to your air dock.
That said, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of keeping your boat and dock, you can use a de-icer.
De-icers, such as the Kasco Marine 2400DO25 (below), are simple machines with one task – prevent water from freezing. You put one of these in the water underneath your air dock and you’ll never have to worry about ice.
This makes things a lot more convenient for you. You don’t have to worry about where to keep your boat during the winter. And when spring arrives, you can hop on and go right away.
Air docks are incredibly useful, there’s no doubt about it. With one of these, you can prolong the life of your boat a lot. Plus, you won’t have to clean it as often.
So why take the risk of leaving your boat on the water? Why go through the hassle of applying anti-fouling paint every time it fades away? Why slow down your boat and damage the environment?
Why do all of these when you can go for an air dock instead?