Are SWAY BRACES needed?


Is a sway brace used on your dock? If not, does your dock sway as you walk on it? There are several reasons this can happen to any dock or pier.

There are main TWO reasons for dock movement.

You need to distinguish between the two types of movement. Is it an up and down movement, or is it a side to side movement?

First, Let’s tackle the Up and Down movement.

When installed, PWS makes sure the legs are firmly on the bottom.  This typically makes the dock stable for most people. 

Yet, over time, storms can wash out or move the sand or rocks under the footpads. Sand is more susceptible to this action. 

It’s the same effect that erosion has on the shoreline. First, it washes away sand and small stones from under the footpad. Then, it continues to work on the remaining stones and rocks. When enough materials are removed, there is nothing left to support the leg.

At this point, you may experience the sensation of up and down movement as you walk.  



How do we prevent it from happening?

There is no way to completely prevent washing out of the footpads. If we disturb the lake bottom too much, it weakens the tightly packed base. Disturbing the lake bottom makes it easier for the wave action to wash the sand away. The sand (or small stones) are loosely packed and have small openings in them.

The only “cure” is to reset the legs firmly on the bottom. We notice this frequently occurs after strong storms. The “white caps” you see are moving the water under the surface also. 



The second type of movement is actual “sway.”

“Sway” is the side-to-side movement when the dock is set higher above the water.

The current water level is still above average even though it is down from 2019 and 2020. This is evidenced by the continued erosion happening up and down the shoreline.

PWS raises your dock up to protect it from high wave action during the summer. When the frames are adjusted higher, the pier becomes less stable. Walking on the dock will cause a side-to-side movement because the center of gravity is higher.

Think of a simple fishing pole. When the pole moves at the bottom, the movement is amplified at the top of the pole. The higher the frames are raised, the more side movement will occur.

See this link for more information.



There is a solution.

A sway brace on the legs reduces the sway side sway. You’ll feel more secure as you walk the length of your dock.

image of Heavy Duty Deep Water Leg Braces

Sway Brace


Does every set of legs need sway braces?

No. PWS will make recommendations based on the heights and lengths of your dock or pier. Often, we add a single brace on a pair of legs. Next, we alternate the position in the opposite direction on the next set of legs.

One brace is attached near the bottom of one leg and clamped higher up on the opposite leg. This depends on the height of the legs. 

It may involve a crew member having to submerge in the water to reach the bottom of the leg. In spring, that is not something anyone wants to do.



 Does it matter if I have an aluminum or steel frame?

A steel frame is less likely to need braces than an aluminum frame due to its own weight. Different configurations are available for aluminum frames, but the principle is the same.

Braces are available for new installations, as shown here. There is an add-on version (independent components) for existing frames. They can be added to existing dock legs if needed. Either version will help stabilize your dock in deeper water.

Will sway braces help your dock? 


Call Jerry at 920-493-4404 for more details. 



Where is Pier & Waterfront Solutions?

Located at 7325 St. Hwy 57, it’s 3 miles south of Sturgeon Bay and 1 mile past the intersection of Cty MM (heading north). Look on the right side, one mile north, at the next corner (Idlewild Road and Hwy 57).




Pier & Waterfront Solutions remains “open.” We have implemented measures to help ensure the safety of our employees and visitors. PWS continues to work to maintain the trusted service that you have come to expect.



PWS implemented these preventive measures:

1. Conducting as much business as possible by email, text, or phone.

2. Site visits will continue. When in-person contacts are necessary, we will follow “social distancing” guidelines.

3. Our display yard is always open for you to examine at your leisure. All displays have a numbered, red tag on them. If you want more information or pricing, please reference that number.



What can YOU do to help us? 

1. Please conduct as much business as possible via emails, messaging, and emails. This step protects everyone involved.

2. When you see our crews installing equipment, please practice “social distancing.”  Remain at a safe distance.

Thank you for allowing us to work with you.



 YES – PWS is OPEN and waiting for you! 

Please call, message, or email PWS with any questions.

Let’s all stay safe!


fantastic workers

Dear Jerry,

You have 2 fantastic workers on your staff!  Ben and Alex were so knowledgeable and hard working.  We cannot be more impressed or pleased.

It just poured down rain on them for the whole time they were here!  Your customers are in good hands with those two!

Cathi & Bob P.

sooo happy with the dock! 

sooo happy with the dock! 

Jerry & Keri:

We are sooo happy with the dock!  The three men who installed it are to be commended.  They are Awesome!

Thank you so much for getting it in.  We will recommend your company to all.  You have been great to us!

Mary and Gary L.              Egg Harbor


Replacement Canopy Covers

Your boat lift is in the water, and you are ready for a great summer of boating. Have you taken your first cruise this year? Yes! It was a great experience – wasn’t it?

That is until you noticed the hole(s) in your canopy cover. Did the last storm cause a tear in your canopy? You can’t ignore it. It’s time to replace your top! 



Your previous boat lift dealer went out of business, or you don’t remember what size canopy you need!  Contact PWS.


Customer referrals

By now, you’ve heard great comments about Pier & Waterfront SolutionsThere are over 100 customer referrals on the PWS website, demonstrating the quality of our work. Those are not some salesperson’s words – they are actual, documented statements.


Testimonials like:

Mike W, Fish Creek

These young men (Alex and Tyler) did the best install I have ever seen!  I am a perfectionist, and I could not have done a better job myself!  Even the pipes that are across from each other are even in height where in the past the pipes were all at random heights,

We tipped the guys but I wanted you to know what a great job they did!  Keep up the great work!!      Mike W

Excellent Job

Hi Jerry, Enclosed is payment for the pier haul out this fall ….. They (the crew) did an excellent job under difficult conditions. Will call you next spring for re-installation.       Dave W.

Great Job   John K Door County

Crews do a great job.      John K.    

Awesome Service – Casey C.

Jerry, Thank you so much for the AWESOME service!        Casey C.   


Here’s More

Hi = just wanted to let you know your crew did a great job taking down our dock this year.  You are all a pleasure to work with. Thanks       David C.

QB  Outstanding Project Work

Outstanding project work. Alex is magical on the forklift and Ben is a strong extra. Nice work, it’s exactly as I hoped it would turn out.   QB

Dale R. Customer service is an art

Jerry, Customer service is an art.  You have mastered the art.  Thank you for your service!     Dale R.  

We appreciate you 

Hi Jerry, I just want you to know how much we appreciate everything you do. It is always a pleasure to work with you.      Katie R. 

I enjoyed talking to Keri 

I enjoyed talking with Keri. She is very polite and personable.  She relayed exactly what I wanted done and she will do well for your business. Please share this with her.  Thanks      Michael H    


Repair Parts

You also know that PWS can provide replacement parts for almost all dock and boat lift brands. But did you know PWS can provide replacement canopies for every brand of boat lift?


Here’s a complete list of boat lift canopies available:

(alpha order)

                1. Beach King 
                2. Daka
                3. DockRight
                4. Floe
                5. Harbormaster
                6. Hewitt
                7. LakeShore
                8. Newman’s
                9. Vibo
                10. Pier Pleasure
                11. Porta-Dock
                12. ShoreMaster
                13. Shorestation


Love your boat? Then you want to give it a dry home. 

Many boat owners choose ShoreMaster Boat Lift Canopies to protect their boats. The quality and longevity of its products are synonymous with the name – ShoreMaster.

ShoreMaster Boat Lift canopies last for years, giving your boat the protection it needs and deserves.

Due to the quality of a ShoreMaster canopy frame, you don’t have to worry about them. But, the sun does deteriorate all canopy fabrics over time.


Which brands are popular on the Door County Peninsula?

The two popular boat lift brands on the Door County peninsula are ShoreMaster and Shorestation. We’ll concentrate on those.


Measuring for ShoreMaster Canopy Covers

First, it’s important to remember that ShoreMaster has more than one length for each lift. Different fabrics and colors are also available for every model. 

Telling us you have a model # SM 4010 lift is not enough. Here is the correct way to measure a replacement canopy for a ShoreMaster boat lift:

  • Refer to the diagram below for detailed information on the needed measurements.

ShoreMaster Canopy Dimensions


Length: Measure from the frame outside edge to the outside edge, along the horizontal centerline. Do not measure up and over the top.

Width: Measure between the inside edges of the frame.


What about the Shorestation brand?

Shorestation lifts will have an extra factor to consider – The metal used on the canopy frame. Shorestation makes canopy frames with either steel or aluminum. It’s important to distinguish between the two before proceeding. The shape and mountings are different.

Older “legacy” models used steel for the frames. Later they began making aluminum boat lifts like the rest of the world. 

Now we have the frame material down pat. Now we can ask the remaining questions. We’ll start with the aluminum lifts since they are the most popular.

Shorestation ALUMINUM Canopy Frames

Shorestation Aluminum Canopy Dimensions

Length: Measure the side rail and then add 2 feet to that number

Width: Measure between the inside edges of the frame

Now on to the Steel canopies.

Shorestation STEEL Canopy Frames

Shorestation Steel Canopy Dimensions

Length: Count the number of inner ribs

Width: Measure between the inside edges of the frame

NOTE: Were there ANY modifications or repairs to the canopy frame? If the answer is yes, it is vital to bring that information to our attention. Changes could result in an error. Custom canopy sizes are not returnable. 


Want assurances that the new canopy will fit?

The best option is to have a PWS representative do a site evaluation by coming to your site. That way, you can rest assured that we have the correct information.


Not either brand?

Look for the brand name on the frame or winch of the boat lift and call or send the information to us. Sending a photo helps also. 

We will return a diagram of the frames to compare with your actual canopy frame. We will also show you how to take the precise canopy dimensions needed. It’s as simple as that! 

If in doubt, ask PWS to send someone out to get the information.



It’s better to be safe than sorry – Call PWS Today!

Where can you find Pier & Waterfront Solutions?

Pier & Waterfront Solutions, 7325 St. Hwy 57, is located 3 miles south of Sturgeon Bay. Go 1 mile PAST the intersection with County MM (heading north). Look on the right at the intersection of  Idlewild Road and Hwy 57.


PWS is

Pier & Waterfront Solutions remains “open” year-round.


The Covid-19 virus is waning thanks to the population getting vaccinations.  We hope that the remaining people will get the vaccine to help stop the spread of this deadly virus. We will continue to conduct as much business as possible by email, text, or phone to do our part to keep people safe.

Site visits continue as usual. When making in-person contacts, we follow “social distancing” guidelines when possible by doing any face-to-face contact outdoors.


PWS display yard – OPEN 24-7


               Red Tag

PWS‘s display area is always open for you to examine at your leisure. All displays available for sale have a numbered, red tag on them. Want more information on something you saw in our yard? Please reference that number when you inquire.

PWS provides estimates by email to make the process faster, safer, and paperless.


Call, message, or email Jerry with any questions.

Jerry Englebert

Contact  Jerry at 920-493-4404 for more information or use this link.