many. Yet the trappings that go with these lake homes can keep a lake home owner awake at night. The last full census of registered boats in Minnesota pegged the number of registered watercraft at around 813,000 – then add docks and lifts to a fair share of that number.

Hein knows of a couple that had just brought home their brand-new pontoon boat saw it destroyed by a storm on the first night.

Hein has gotten to know one of his customers very well. Three times they have been out to his place to help him pick up the pieces. He told Hein that the best time of the year for him is when his pontoon is put into storage for the winter.

Hein said a July 1 storm that hit Pickerel Lake, just 4 miles northwest of Advanced Docks and Lifts, really got the phone ringing.

“Pickerel really got hit hard,” Hein said. Popularly known as one of the most pristine lakes in Otter Tail County, Pickerel has been ringed solid by lake homes for years – so much so that in the past a passerby has been lucky to catch a glimpse of it. The storm that fell on Pickerel two weeks ago changed that, according to Hein.

The same storm raised havoc with pontoons, boats and lifts on Otter Tail Lake.

While the business installs docks and lifts and peddles boats of all kinds, it also removes them when they are damaged.

“We retrieve it from the water and do estimates on the damage,” Hein said. “It always creates a lot of work for us.”

Hein added that the salvage work also creates sales for his business.

What happens to the damaged material collected? Hein said it is shipped to four different salvage yards where it is auctioned off. There are bidders who will take a damaged watercraft and put time into fixing it up.

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