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Water should stay in Okanagan Lake, not work its way onto the gorgeous dock you’ve put a solid investment in. Flood protection is often not something most people think about, but if you’re living on the lake it should absolutely be top-of-mind before you start having issues in the spring or summer. We break down how to set up and prepare flood protection for your dock, so if water creeps its way up like a nosy neighbour, you are prepared and ready. 

The First Step in Flood Protection: Have an Emergency Fund Ready 

Even with tons of preparation, it’s still best to have an emergency fund ready to handle flooding when it happens. We recommend budgeting for not only potential damage caused, but funds for replacing some of the dock components that could become waterlogged. This way, you don’t have to worry about how much of an insurance payout you might get, or if you have to pay out of pocket for any additional repair costs that weren’t covered yourself.

Wooden dock partially submerged from flooding

Establishing Dock Flood Protection and Steps to Take if It Gets Submerged

If your dock is at or under Okanagan Lake’s water level, to prevent your dock from losing its structure and the piles coming loose make sure you add weight on top of it. However, it’s important how you apply the weight and take the following precautions when doing so:

  • Firstly, place the weight over the location of the piles that support the dock, or place the weight on the crosscap. While you’re doing this, make sure the weight is evenly distributed so that your dock doesn’t become uneven.
  • Don’t overload your dock when putting weight on it, only put as much on as your dock has capacity for.

If you happen to be on the lake boating during flooding season, be wary of floating debris that could cause damage to your watercraft. Also, be courteous to waterfront properly owners and avoid creating big wakes in front of residential docks and properties to avoid further flooding damage to their docks or homes.

Flood Protection for Boat Lifts

If it’s possible to operate the lift safely, SLP3T lifts should be raised as high as possible, and 4 post boat lift cradles should be lowered as far as they can go to prevent damage from moving around from the waves.

Take high water warnings seriously, and preemptively turn off the power to your boat lift to prevent short-circuiting and the potential to be electrocuted. This will also prevent excess damage to your boat lift as well.

If you’re able to dry-dock your boat or other watercraft during a flood warning or high waters, do so. Your boat may either float away from its mooring, or damage itself or your dock if the winds or currents take it. Being prepared is your best option for mitigating or entirely avoiding any damage to your personal property.

Shoreline Pile Driving monitors lake levels daily from the data collected at Kelowna City Park and the Penticton dam.

Bailing out boat damaged from flooding

How High Water and Flooding Can Affect Your Dock

If your dock becomes flooded and there wasn’t additional preparation done to prevent piles from coming loose, your dock may be structurally compromised. In this case, it’s best to have professionals (even better if it was the company that installed it since they’ll know how it was put in) come and inspect your dock before you use it so that it’s not compromised further.

This is particularly important if the dock is primarily made from wood, as the dock will naturally want to float and potentially separate from the pilings or just drag them out—making fixing it more challenging.

Electrocution is a real risk if water levels rise high enough and reach electrical components. If this happens, turn off power to your dock as soon as you notice the electrical parts underwater to avoid being electrocuted. Depending on the mechanisms, they may need to be replaced. If you have a boat lift, turn off the power to it immediately to prevent electrocution. In the event your boat lift gets submerged, the motor and pumps can get damaged. Remove these components and place them in a dry location until the water level has lowered enough again where it’s safe to re-install them.

If you happen to notice any flickering lights once you’re safely able to turn the power on, be cautious. Although the fixture may appear dry, water may have gotten inside and the light shouldn’t be replaced until the fixture can be confirmed as one hundred percent dry. Always replace lighting with the power turned off to avoid electrocution. The sockets themselves may also have to be replaced as the flooding may have corroded the insulation or other electrical parts.

Flooding is no fun to deal with, so don’t let it happen to you by following our tips and preparation tactics above. 



Enjoy water instead of dealing with it by getting a dock for your lakeside location. Get in touch with us today!