Keeping High and Dry

photo by Larry Clinton | This article edited from a Floating Handyman column in the Floating Times several years ago

Winter storms are on their way. Are you ready?

First and foremost, check the lines that secure your home in your berth. Most floating home lines are made of polypropylene. It’s a good material because it is rather inexpensive. It also has a natural tendency to be a bit stretchy, and therefore becomes a natural shock absorber. But these lines do deteriorate. Longtime floating home builder, realtor and resident Howard Myers feels the black line is good for at least five years. Yellow line has a much shorter life span. So look closely.

  • If the line looks kind of “hairy” it could be a sign that the fibers are breaking down. Time to replace them!
  • Howard also mentioned that with the first storm, the line tends to stretch out a bit. Think about having the lines tightened.
  • Pay special attention to how the line is attached to the pilings and the home. The lines are usually attached to a steel plate that is bolted to the floatation. Make sure the bolts are not rusted. This is especially important if you have just a single eyebolt. Rust and metal fatigue can be hard to spot.
  • Then, be sure that the lines are not wearing where they are attached. Do the lines go directly through the ring, or are they protected by steel thimbles?
  • At the pilings, check to see that the knots are secure. If you have a system of old tires that ride up and down on the pilings, check for wear.
  • Finally, make sure that your pilings are in good shape. Many of the original pilings installed when the harbors were built are rotten and can snap in a storm.

If you know what you’re doing…great! Check things out each year. But if you want a professional to do the dirty work here are a few sources:

T.J. of Nelsen Marine services on “A” Dock can replace lines and pilings. If it’s not too late, you may also want to ask if he can coat your piling in concrete to slow deterioration. His number is 415-332-4957.

Other contractors can help with floating home repair as well. Check with your dock rep or any of the realtors listed here [unCLASSIFIED ADS] for referrals.