Spring Storms

Spring Storms

Dock sway is a result of deeper water and the need to raise your dock higher out of the water.

In 2016 we did an article about dock sway as a result of the high water that year. 2017 was worse, and 2018 continues this trend. The water depths have risen so much that each month brings new records. These records replace standards set years before many of us were born.

This year, in particular, we have experienced an unusual number of strong N.E. winds. These winds have resulted in the water depths you experience daily, to rise even further for a day or more.

These storm surges are the result of the bay being enclosed on three sides. There are limited rivers to dissipate the water at the south end when this happens. Those rivers are already at high levels and can’t dissipate more water.




Tall Ships


Recently the “Tall Ships” came to Green Bay, and some of the ships did not have enough room under the Tower Drive bridge near the mouth of the Fox river to pass under them. They had to wait until the winds changed to enter Green Bay for their exhibition.

For more information on the Tall Ships see https://tallshipswisconsin.com/event-description/

What can PWS do about Dock Sway?

To protect your dock as much as we can, we raise your dock higher to lessen the chance of storm damage. Many of you are aware of this because the dock legs were too short to allow us to raise your dock. Our Service Manager had to contact many people to enable us to take extra time to change the legs. Our installations, which were already slowed down by frequent rain and strong winds, got even slower.

Unfortunately, raising a dock moves the center of gravity higher, and it causes the dock to “sway” when you walk on it.

Here’s an example. If you step on a 6-foot step ladder, the first few rungs are stable.  The higher you go – not so much.  Place your feet on the top of the ladder, and you quickly realize you are in a precarious position.  (Better start looking for a safe place to land.)

ShoreMaster docks, equipped with infinity leg pockets, extend the pockets to 18″ deep versus the usual 4″ – 6″ most docks have. Angled braces are added along with the pockets. Unfortunately, even this is not enough to prevent the sway some people are incurring.

Is there another solution?

image of Hydraulic Lift by ShoreMaster

Sway brace

There is a partial solution which helps but does not totally eliminate sway – the addition of sway braces to the legs.

The addition of one or more cross-braces will reduce the swaying motion. Cross braces are rigid pipe(s) attached at an angle to the legs of the dock.  For the pier to sway at the top, it must also move the opposite leg at the base where it is firmer.  Mounting sway braces lessens the amount of sway you experience.

If your dock is swaying too much for your comfort, please call John, our service manager, at 920-493-4405.

For sales, contact Jerry (Jerry@wisconsinpws.com) or call 920-493-4404.

Do you have a friend that might be interested in this post?  Please forward it to them.

Pier & Waterfront Solutions 

PWS is located at 7325 St. Hwy 57. That’s 1 mile North of County MM (Hwy 42) and 4 miles South of Sturgeon Bay at the Idlewild Road intersection.