Hurricane Tips for Waterfront Residents & Dock Owners from Marine Specialties Marine Construction Company

Gainesville, GA Boat Dock Builder and Marine Construction Company Marine Specialties Inc. Gives Valuable Advice to Local Residents for Dock Preparation in Advance of Hurricane Dorian

Marine Specialties Inc., a well-known aluminum boat dock builder and marine construction company also specializing in boat lifts, shoreline protection, and dock accessories shares tips for dock and waterfront home owners to prepare for Hurricane Dorian.

Any time a hurricane is strengthening rather rapidly in the Gulf or Atlantic – even if “he” or “she” is currently taking aim at panhandle or east coast as the most likely target, the Georgia coast and even inland areas like Lake Lanier, Lake Hartwell, and other lakes and bodies of water may often feel the wrath of this storm.

Local dock builder and marine construction expert Tom Child is the owner of Marine Specialties Inc. He has been in business for thirty years and he himself has lived on Lake Lanier for this time plus some. As a local expert on dock construction, boat lift installation, and shoreline protection, Tom is providing tips and advice sharing how waterfront homeowners can – and should – prepare quickly for potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian.

As Child says:

“In my time on Lake Lanier and serving waterfront homeowners, I have seen – and been through – some pretty massive storms. Such storms can – and have – done big damage to boat docks, boats, boat lifts, and even the shorelines themselves. Want to see just a little of what wind can do? The video below was shot several years ago on what was just a very windy day. Even so, you can watch boat docks getting battered by the rough water and wind. It’s probably not hard to imagine then, what the winds and waves can do as a result of a hurricane if it takes a track that brings it eventually over our areas, even as a weaker tropical storm.”

Watch the video Child refers to here:

While Child doesn’t want waterfront dwellers on Lakes Lanier and Hartwell to worry about hurricanes necessarily, he urges that proper preparation is good. After all, better safe than sorry and waiting until the last minute might leave you caught off guard.

For boat owners, he suggests that it’s preferable to remove tables and chairs from the dock. Or at minimum, turn the table upside down, so it does not blow away or slide across the deck. Then, tie all chairs together if you can’t or don’t have time to remove them and move them to land, even securing or tying them to a tree.

He also advises to remove all kayaks, paddle boards, and tubes from the dock as he and company – which also performs salvage operations –  commonly see these items blow away during a normal storm.

AND… don’t forget about your boat top / boat canvas top  or boat cover…  You may want to remove your boat cover if it does not fit securely to the boat.   If it does fit securely then make sure you have it installed properly to take the severe wind.

Additionally, he says if you have a boat lift, keep your boat on the lift in the “up” position. He says that many would tell you NOT to do this but in his opinion, it offers your lift the least opportunity for damage. Furthermore, if you only have it tied to the dock, he stresses you must check your lines to make sure they are in good shape and as secure as you can get them.

Regarding power, Child suggests unplugging shore to dock power. This way, if your dock should happen to break loose, you won’t have the risk of a live wire on the shore. After the storm, be sure to unplug power – if you have not already – before checking on your dock/lift or shoreline. If you feel like you don’t want to check out your damage after the storm, don’t hesitate to call the team at MSI and we can get out there for you.

Child adds, “Do not underestimate the power of the wind and water.  If your dock is anchored by just cables, you should pull your boat dock in closer to shore as this will possibly help keep your dock from being pushed in, the cables getting slack, and then some real damage occurring.”

On the other hand, he counters, “If your dock is anchored by spud poles and cables, I would still recommend pulling your dock in a bit. At least put it in a little shallower water – ideally 8ft or less – with the poles. This way if the winds get real bad you will have a better chance of not bending a pole. If the poles are in real deep water, it will put a lot of stress and leverage on the poles and possibly bend them.  This is not uncommon to happen with heavy wind and waves.”

Lastly, reminds Child, if your dock should happen to break loose in the storm, please do not risk your life trying to save it while the storm is on top of you. Instead, wait it out until the weather passes.  There is nothing anyone can do safely to save your dock during the worst of the bad weather.

In summary, Child says the sum of his advice is to prepare as much as you possibly can and then stay inside during the storm, while also staying calm. Of course, there is a chance this storm will miss us completely minus some rain and mild wind.

If you have any questions or need assistance when a storm is possibly approaching, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Marine Specialties team at (770) 531-7735 (GA) or  (864) 260-9700 (SC).

If you need any assistance after a storm passes, please do not hesitate to call Marine Specialties Inc.  We will be out in full force afterward to secure docks that have suffered damage.


Marine Specialties has been in business since 1988.  They deliver top-quality aluminum docks, floating docks, boat lifts, shoreline protection, and dock accessories to our customers.

MSI owner Tom Child and his family have lived in Northeast Georgia on the lake for 25+ years. Marine Specialties, Inc. has been around for almost that same time—serving the communities and residents in and around Lake Lanier with top-quality floating dock and aluminum boat dock construction.  They opened a second location in South Carolina in the middle of Lake Hartwell to better serve the floating dock, boat lift, and shoreline protection needs in that area.

A Wahoo Docks and HydroHoist official dealer, Marine Specialties has received numerous awards and accolades throughout the years including Wahoo’s “Dock of the Month” numerous times, Wahoo’s “Dealer of the Year” for 15+ years, and HydroHoist’s “Dealer of the Year” for 20+ years.

To learn more about Marine Specialties Inc., visit or contact their business at (770) 531-7735 (GA) or  (864) 260-9700 (SC).


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At MSI, we are always happy to spend any amount of time necessary to educate our customers and we love showing off the boat docks we have built, the boat lifts that we have installed, or the rip rap and steps we have completed for previous customers. We love sharing our knowledge, tips, and information about the lake life with you too!