Staying Safe on Piers and Avoiding Injuries

Staying Safe on Piers and Avoiding Injuries

Staying safe on piers and avoiding injuries is essential for people enjoying the marinas without incident. Docks and piers are popular gathering areas for boaters, swimmers, and other water lovers. They offer a convenient launching point for various activities, including fishing, swimming, diving, sailing, and sightseeing. Unsurprisingly, they are a popular feature in many marinas and yacht clubs.

Staying Safe on Piers: What to Know

But despite their appeal, docks and piers can be dangerous places with unexpected hazards at every turn. Indeed, there is often a heightened risk of injury for those unaware of the dangers and who neglect to take safety precautions. 

Common Causes of Injuries on Docks and Piers

Despite the many dangers, enjoying time on a dock or pier is possible without getting hurt. All that is needed is an awareness of the surroundings and knowledge of the standard safety risks and hazards. 

Wet and Slippery Surfaces 

Docks and piers often have wet and slippery surfaces due to their proximity to the water. It can increase the possibility of a slip. 

No one can do much to prevent water and moisture from accumulating on dock and pier surfaces. But choosing suitable materials and treating exposed surfaces can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. 

Warped or Improperly Installed Planks

Wooden planks are among the most commonly used materials in docks and piers. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most common causes of trips and falls. Constant exposure to salt air, seawater, heat, and other environmental conditions may cause sections to warp, crack, or rot, posing a falling or tripping hazard.

Dock management should replace any edges of the pier that looked chipped as soon as possible. But improperly installed planks can also be dangerous, even when new. If necessary, these should be removed and appropriately replaced to ensure the safety of dock users. 

Damaged and Uneven Concrete

Docks and piers made of concrete aren’t necessarily safer than those made from wooden planks. Cracks, chips, and uneven sections can cause slips, trips, and falls and are especially dangerous for older people. 

Clutter and Debris 

Fishing poles, tackle boxes, and other clutter left on the pier could cause someone to trip and fall. These should be stowed onboard the owner’s boats or moved so they aren’t in anyone’s way.

Ropes and cables are other common hazards in docks and piers. These should be rolled up and stored when not in use. 

Marina owners should clear debris from docks and piers periodically. Additionally, they should collect leaves, tree branches, and trash blown by the wind to keep gangplanks safe for passersby. 

Damaged and Weakened Handrails

Handrails installed on docks and piers prevent people from slipping and falling into the water. However, they can have weak spots. Sections of the railing can crumble or weaken over time due to constant exposure to salt water, salty air, and the elements. Likewise, it hinders their ability to protect people. 


Remember that safety often depends on an awareness of the inherent risks of a particular place or situation. Spending time on a dock or pier makes it easy to be lulled into a false sense of security, given the calming environment and pleasant company. But remaining aware of the risks is crucial for enjoying these places and ensuring a more rewarding and satisfactory experience. 

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.