What Changing Lake Levels Mean for My Dock

Summer is coming to an end and cooler weather is on its way! It’s a beautiful time of year, but it can pose problems for lake homeowners.

One of the biggest concerns to consider is how changing lake levels affect your dock each year. Power companies often drain lakes each fall to lower water levels to prevent flooding in the rainier seasons. Natural causes, such as rain, drought, evaporation rates, temperature, and more can cause lake levels to fluctuate on their own. 

So, how does this affect your home? Keep reading to learn our best tips for responding to fluctuating water levels near your dock:

Low Lake Levels

What causes water levels to fluctuate in lakes? If your lake is owned by power companies or the government, chances are it will be drained in the fall to control flooding. It’s best to contact your local community if you’re not sure! In some places, the heat is so intense in the summer that lake water evaporates quickly and causes low water levels in parts of the lake.

Some potential problems this could cause are:

  • Limited access to water
  • Reduced access to marinas, harbors, and shipping channels
  • Stranded docks and boat ramps
  • Changes to pumping efficiency of water intake pipes
  • Increased vegetation along shorelines of water, including invasive species

How to Respond to Low Water Levels in the Lake

Although there are issues that could arise from low lake levels, there are ways to respond and even benefit your dock! Here are a few things to do in seasons of low water levels:

Check Your Dock For Maintenance 

There’s no better time to repair or update your dock than when water levels are low. You’ll have easy access to the whole dock since most or all of it will be exposed due to the low levels. 

If you’ve been considering new installations, decorations, or updates to your dock, plan to do it when you know water levels will be at their lowest. It’s also the best time to call an electrician to make sure your dock and swimming areas are secure. 

Learn more about how to prevent electrical currents in the water around your dock. 

Winterize and Store Your Boat

In many areas, lake levels can get so low in the fall that you won’t be able to leave your boat in the water. To protect your boat, you want to winterize and store it in a storage unit or marina until lake levels rise again.

To winterize your boat, make sure you:

  • Remove all valuables from the boat
  • Replace the engine fuel
  • Drain and flush out the engine
  • Protect internal components with a fogging oil spray
  • Grease engine to lubricate the components and prevent rust or corrosion
  • Clean, wax, and cover your boat

Your boat will be safe and ready to be stored until water levels rise again.

High Water Levels

High water levels in the lake are most often caused by heavy periods of rain, snowfall, or other storms. This happens in many areas in fall, winter, or early spring.

Some potential issues high water levels cause are:

  • Flooded docks, boat ramps, marinas, houses, and other coastal infrastructure
  • Flooding on shorelines and along rivers that empty into the lakes
  • Increased coastal erosion
  • Loss of access to portions of property

How to Respond to High Lake Levels

  • Always check regulations in your area before building a home or dock to ensure your home will be safe in times of high lake levels
  • Use flood resistant materials in and around your dock
  • Restore the natural vegetation around your shoreline to prevent further damage from flooding
  • Build flood resistant walls or barriers around your dock, such as a rock wall, to protect your property

Fluctuating lake levels can happen for a variety of reasons and cause issues for many dock and lake homeowners. However, if you follow these tips, you can protect your home and properly prepare your property for these changes.

The heart of WaveLink is to prevent unnecessary tragedies on the lake and keep your loved ones safe. 

Learn more about protecting your loved ones at the lake today.