For Waterfront Property Owners, It’s All About ‘Safety First’

Owning a waterfront property in Florida, or other coastal towns throughout the U.S., can certainly feel like a privilege; but with great perks, comes great responsibility! Keeping your waterfront property, and all that comes with it, well-maintained can help keep your friends, family and visitors safe, allowing you to enjoy all that mother nature has to offer.

Keep Your Waterfront Property Safe

Having worked in the marine construction industry for over 30 years, we here at Gibson Marine have truly “seen it all.” From failing, or dilapidated seawalls, rotting or leaning docks and decks, rusted or broken boat lifts, and worse, we have seen what can happen when outdoor structures are ignored or neglected. Each of these conditions, mentioned above, not only create eye sores for your neighbors, but grave safety concerns for anyone attempting to use or walk on these structures. However, we’ve yet to come across a seawall, dock, deck or boat lift we couldn’t fix! Below, we’ve compiled some of the major concerns we face as waterfront property owners, and when you should leave the repairs to the experts!


A seawall acts as your first line of defense, and is an invaluable structure for homeowners on the water. While we recommend regular cleaning, maintenance and monitoring of your seawall, a major storm or invisible damage can result in a severely compromised seawall that needs professional attention ASAP. If you feel that your seawall might be damaged, it’s always better to call an expert to come out and take a look at it – better safe than sorry!

Common causes of damage to seawalls:

Example of a damaged seawall in need of repair
  • Natural wear and tear over time
  • Storm surge/hurricanes
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Changing water flow
  • Improper installation



Docks and/or Decks

While seawalls act as the first line of defense for your waterfront property, they oftentimes go unnoticed. However, your backyard deck, (and if you have one) dock are often where most the activity happens in your outdoor space, and is usually what guests and visitors see first. Docks and decks can rot or break after time and if they aren’t protected with pressure-treated lumber or built with quality materials, they immediately become a safety hazard to your family or visitors.

While there is a lot that a homeowner can do to protect their dock or deck against damage, if rot sets in, it’s time to call in the professionals. Some common signs that it might be time to call the professionals are:

Example of damaged deck in need of repair
  • Rotting or broken wood
  • Bowing or loose beams
  • Termites
  • Nails or screws won’t hold




Boat Lifts

Every good boatowner knows just how important it is to take care of your investment with regular maintenance, cleaning and long-term care. If you’re fortunate enough to live on the water as a boatowner, it’s imperative that you invest in a boat lift. Boat lifts are central to upkeep and is one of the best ways to proactively maintain the hull. A boat’s hull is obviously subjected to the most potential abuse; particularly if left in the water for extended periods of time. The eventual corrosive effects of elements like algae, moss, and salt water can wear away at the finish, something no boatowner wants to see.

Protecting and maintaining your boat lift is one in the same with protecting and maintaining your boat. Here are some of the common causes of damage to your boat lift:

  • Excessive chafe on the cables
  • Over-extending the life of your cables
  • Improper maintenance/care of lift beams
  • Cracked bunks
  • Improperly greased gears, drive units, pulleys, etc.

If any of these warning signs sound familiar to you, it might be time to give us a call. Safety is something that should be on the forefront of every waterfront property owner’s mind, and maintaining your seawalls, docks and decks, and boat lifts is a big part of staying safe!



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