Storm Tips for Waterfront / 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 Irma

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 Irma.

Superstorm Hurricane Irma is rapidly approaching, and Lake Lanier, Lake Hartwell, and many other lakes and bodies of water will 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 twenty-five years and lived on Lake Lanier for the past thirty years. As a local “expert” on dock construction, boat lift installation, and shoreline protection, he is providing tips and advice for how waterfront homeowners can – and should – prepare quickly for Irma.

As Child says, “Over the years I have seen many terrible storms pass through and do horrible damage to boat docks, boats, and shorelines.  I even took a video of a weather event one time – which was really just a very windy day – and you can watch the boat docks getting battered by the rough water and wind.  As such, it is expected that this storm has the potential to really do some damage.”

Watch the video Child refers to here:

Consequently, Child strongly urges all boat and boat dock owners to perform preparations for the storm as soon as possible.

For boat owners, he suggests you either remove your table 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.

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.

Additionally, he says if you have a boat lift, keep your boat on the lift in the “up” position. 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.

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 crux of his advice is to prepare as much as possible and hope for the best. There is still a chance the storm will not be too terrible and will just provide us with some needed rain.

Any questions you may reach out to Marine Specialties at (770) 531-7735 (GA) or  (864) 260-9700 (SC).


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!