Dock electrical inspections are underway for 2018. This is our fourth year of the program. It has been a road filled with twists and turns, hills and valleys and more than a few little bumps. It’s been a somewhat painful process for the membership and for the staff in the office. Great progress has been made, particularly since the Board of Directors made the decision last year to not register boats to properties where the docks were noncompliant. This decision created a flurry of activity as was expected. After all, what good is expensive Lake property if you can’t put a boat on the water. As a result, our Lake is considerably safer now than it was before. Then the question came up as to whether continuing the program was going to be necessary once all the docks were considered compliant. The point was made that the only constant is change. Every month the Lake Improvement Board meeting agenda is filled with applications for new docks. We’re turning over docks here at an incredible rate right now. Not only that, but last month’s tornado was a perfect example of what can happen on a Lake filled with docks and boats. In the blink of an eye, many docks went from being safe to dangerous. I’m sure this annual program will be continuing for the foreseeable future.
Our program was modeled after one developed by another one of the local lake communities. Their program had been raising the standards every year, requiring their dock to be upgraded constantly. Our board took the approach of developing a set of standards that would be acceptable for a longer time. This approach, although more painful at first, would not only provide safer docks immediately but it would eliminate a lot of confusion as to what constituted compliance and prevent our members from having to upgrade their docks every year. I am happy to report that the standards have not changed this year. We have made a few changes in the program, however. The inspection forms have been changed from a yes/no checklist to a pass/fail checklist. This should make it easier to determine what needs fixed on your docks. All reports that you receive should have pictures of the specific issues that need addressed with a brief explanation. Most reports will come with a “courtesy” citation allowing 30 days to bring your dock back into compliance without consequence (unless the noncompliance creates an immediate safety hazard.) Once the problem is corrected you should notify the office for a one-time free reinspection (if it’s within 30 days.) After 30 days, the member will be responsible for paying for the reinspection (which is typically $100) and will get a 6 point citation.
Finally, a few observations based on our first handful of inspection reports. Out of the first 40 docks inspected, 6 have failed. Most are either shared docks or docks that share a source of electricity. In one case the power was shut off at the house so the circuit could not be tested. This was a common problem last year. Lots of folks had to pay for reinspections because we couldn’t test their docks. In another case, an extension cord was used to power the lift on the dock. This is allowed only if it is disconnected and removed from the dock when there is no one present. Citations for this noncompliance will be a “courtesy” one time only. Each subsequent violation will result in points and we’re inspecting for this one every day, not just once a year.
Submitted by: Jan T. Olson – Executive Director
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