Harsh winter could impact dock safety

Mar 12, 2014

lake of the ozarks
Lake of the Ozarks
Credit bsabarnowl / flickr

Following a rough winter at the Lake of the Ozarks, people are advised to check their docks before proceeding into the water. 

In 2012, three people were killed as a result of faulty wiring in two different docks. This prompted Osage Beach Fire District to pass an ordinance which requires all new, remodeled and recently sold docks to be inspected. However, many lake goers are still at risk, according to Rick Hollingsworth, President of Rich’s Dock Company in Camdenton.

“In time, I think all docks will be brought up to code. There’s still a lot of them out there that are very dangerous that may just have standard household wiring. And that just doesn’t hold up on a dock,” Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth says he advises his customers to have the electrical wiring on their dock brought up to code and inspected every two years.

In addition to electrical issues, Division Chief Fire Marshall for Lake Ozark James Doyle says that the harsh winter may have caused serious damage.

“It’s not just cold that’s damaging the docks, you have ice that encompasses the docks and then you have wind movement that helps move the docks and puts stress on the ramps and on the cables,” Doyle said.

Hollingsworth recommends staying off the dock if you notice damage or if you are unsure if the structure is safe.