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Using Non-slip Treads on a Boat Dock

When it comes to boat docks, safety and durability are of utmost importance. Whether you own a personal watercraft or operate a marina, providing a secure and stable surface is crucial. Preventing slips and falls on boat docks is of paramount importance for the safety and well-being of boaters, dock workers, and visitors alike. These docks are inherently prone to slippery conditions due to water splashes, puddles, algae growth, and marine elements. The consequences of slips and falls can range from minor injuries to severe accidents, including fractures, head trauma, or even drowning. 


These potentially dangerous slip and fall risks can be significantly reduced by prioritizing preventative safety measures like the installation of non-slip solutions. A dock that addresses slip and fall hazards ensures safe and confident usage for everyone, enhancing the overall boating experience and fostering a culture of safety and enjoyment on the water.

What Makes Boat Docks and Marinas So Slippery?

Surprise!  It’s the water!

Dog on boat - Non-slip treads on boat dock

Firstly, waves made by passing boats can splash up onto the dock and create puddles. This idle water can be extremely slippery for those walking on the dock. The aquatic environment also gives way to mold and mildew growth, which is also extremely slippery. Additionally, if the dock is constructed of wood, the water can seep into the wood and make it slippery to walk on, even if there are no puddles present.

Being in a marine environment makes it impossible to avoid water and moisture on walking surfaces. Therefore, steps must be taken to mitigate the slip and fall hazards that continually exist. Non-slip solutions should be installed on your deck or marina to prevent potentially dangerous slips and falls. 

Non-Slip Solutions for Boat Docks and Marinas

In this section, we will explore the non-slip solutions available on the market today. However, not all solutions are created equal when it comes to boat dock or marina usage. Let’s delve into the advantages and disadvantages of these non-slip solutions and identify the one that will work best for your aquatic application.  

“Non-Slip” Building Materials

Building Materials for docks docks

Marinas and boat docks can be fabricated using various materials from wood to metal to plastic. When constructing the dock, these materials can be designed to have some sort of anti-slip properties themselves. For example, metal docks can be made with grooves to create more traction. Wood docks, like docks made of teak, can have slats for drainage to prevent standing water. However, these building materials are often expensive and frequently do not provide enough traction on their own to be truly non-slip.

If you’re a dock owner or a marina manager searching for a better solution, here are some options for you to consider. 

Grit Tape and Treads


One of the most well-known and available non-slip options is peel-and-stick grit tape and/or treads which can be found at most hardware and big box stores. Unfortunately, being widely available does not always mean better. The tape and treads are installed by removing the backing and then sticking them to the surface of the dock. Special care must also be taken during installation to meticulously clean the surface before application and only apply them at certain temperatures.

While grit tape and treads may work on non-porous, sealed surfaces like garages or basements, they generally are not suitable for outdoor or marine applications. Firstly, water and moisture, which are ever present on docks, wear down the adhesive on grit tape. Most grit tape applications won’t even last the year before they start peeling up. And once they do begin to peel, they become a slip-and-fall hazard in themselves. Even though the grit surface can create some traction when walked on, the grit treads are quite flat so puddles and algae can form on top of them, rendering them useless. 

Traction Mats


Another anti-slip option sometimes used on boat docks and marinas is traction mats. These mats are available in a number of styles and sizes but are most often constructed of rubber and have grooves or holes for traction and water drainage. Because the mats will be in an area of high foot traffic, they will need to be secured to the dock. One option is to use adhesive to secure the mats but the adhesive can only be applied in certain temperatures and after extensive surface preparation.

It can also be quite expensive to buy both enough mats and adhesive for the dock. Like grit tape, the marine environment will quickly wear down the adhesive, causing the mats to start peeling up at the edges and creating another hazard for people to trip over. If not using adhesive, the mats can be bolted down. However, with heavy use, the rubber around the bolts can begin to rip and peel up just the same. 


The efficacy of the mats must also be evaluated in consideration of their placement and usage. While many mats have grooves or slots for water drainage, that would stop algae from forming on the mats, the grooves will also make it very difficult to remove the algae between each crevice. Under heavy foot traffic, the grooves or slots that make the mats non-slip will begin to wear down, causing them to lose traction and need to be replaced.

Depending upon the thickness of the mat, mats can actually become a trip and fall hazard if the edge of the mat can be caught by the toe of a shoe or boot.


A number of non-slip coatings and paints can be applied to boat docks and marinas to make them less slippery. What gives these coatings traction is some sort of grit suspended in the paint. Once applied and dried, the paint/coating creates similar traction to grit treads and tape without the problems associated with an adhesive-backed product. 

While you don’t need to fear non-slip coatings peeling up like tape, traction paints encounter similar issues to grit treads.

Standing water and algae can sit on top of the paint, making it more slippery. In colder weather, if ice or snow sits on top of the paint, it is virtually useless. The paint will also require re-application within a few years and the coating will be easily damaged by a show shovel. 

Non-slip paints and coatings also have one of the most labor-intensive installation processes compared to other non-slip solutions. Firstly, the surfacer must be meticulously cleaned before application and the coating/paint can only be applied at certain temperatures to ensure it fully adheres to the walkway or deck. You’ll also have to wait up to 24 hours before being able to use the dock after application. Finally,fter 3-5 years, the traction paint will need to be reapplied to maintain any sort of non-slip properties. 

Aluminum Treads

Slip and Fall Solutions - Aluminum Treads Seconds and Overruns at deep discounts

A more permanent slip and fall prevention solution is HandiTreads aluminum treads. The patented raised button surface of the treads provides unbeatable traction even in puddles and algae. Unlike the other solutions listed above, HandiTreads have a quick, straightforward installation that can be done in any temperature or weather condition.

Simply screw them down with a power drill and you’re good to go! Once installed, HandiTreads do not require any further maintenance and can last a lifetime. In the next section, we’ll further explore the benefits of HandiTreads that make them the ideal choice for non-slip protection on your dock. 

What Makes HandiTreads Aluminum Non-Slip Treads Ideal for Dock and Marina Applications?

  • Superior Traction: Handitreads are designed with an exclusive patented raised-button traction surface that significantly enhances grip, offering superior traction for boaters stepping onto or off the dock in the wettest of conditions. The buttons grip onto the bottom of your shoe or foot and are comfortable enough for bare feet. This unique design ensures that HandiTreads provide traction all year long, even in snow, ice, or debris. If algae are present on the dock, which is likely, it will not impair the functionality of HandiTreads and is easy to remove with a rag or hose. 
  • Durable and Weather Resistant: Boat docks are constantly exposed to the elements, including water, algae, sunlight, salt, and other harsh weather conditions. HandiTreads are crafted from durable powder-coated aluminum, making them resistant to corrosion, rust, and decay. Unlike the solutions above that require adhesive or paint that fail over time once exposed to the elements, Handitreads maintain their integrity and performance, ensuring longevity and eliminating the need for replacements.
  • Low Maintenance: Keeping a boat dock in top condition can be time-consuming and costly. However, HandiTreads do not require any maintenance. The aluminum material is easy to clean and does not require regular sealing, painting, or adhesive reapplication. This low-maintenance feature saves you time and effort, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of dock maintenance and operation. Once installed, HandiTreads have a lifetime residential warranty and a 1-year commercial warranty. 
  • Easy Installation: Installing Handitreads on your boat dock is a simple, straightforward process. They are designed to fit a variety of dock surfaces, including wood, concrete, and metal. With their pre-drilled holes and simple mounting system, you can quickly and easily secure the treads to your dock, ensuring a secure and stable walking surface in no time. Because there is no adhesive involved, HandiTreads can be installed in any temperature or weather condition, including rain and snow! 
  • Versatile Applications: Available in multiple sizes, HandiTreads can fit any dock surface. The stair treads (which can also be used on flat surfaces like docks) are 3.75” wide and come in 30”, 36”, and 48” lengths. The deck/ramp treads are 1.875” wide and 48” long. HandiTreads can be installed on the length of your dock, or just in places you find becoming extra slippery. Beyond your dock, HandiTreads can be installed on outdoor stairways, walkways, decks, and ramps to prevent slips and falls across your property. 
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: In addition to their functional benefits, Handitreads also contribute to the visual appeal of your boat dock. With their sleek and modern design, they keep dock-goers safe without detracting from the property’s appeal. They are available in different finishes, including Obsidian Black, New England Gray, Chestnut Brown, Java Brown, and Unfinished Silver, allowing you to choose the option that best complements your dock’s overall aesthetic.
Non-slip treads on a boat dock

Make Boating and Marine Activities Safe! 

By investing in HandiTreads non-slip aluminum treads for your boat dock or marina, you are prioritizing safety and peace of mind. With their durability, superior traction, ease of installation, and aesthetic appeal, HandiTreads provide a reliable solution that will enhance your boating experience for years to come. So don’t wait any longer to create a safer and more enjoyable environment on your boat dock by incorporating HandiTreads today! 

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