Docks going in a month earlier than usualby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
DETROIT LAKE — A howling northwest wind shatters whitecaps against the shore. Dressed in black wetsuits, Brandon Duel and Eric Stelzer jump waist deep into the 40-degree water.
"It's kinda like being in a big cup of ice water. After a couple of weeks your body just adapts to it and you really don't even get cold anymore," Stelzer said.
The crew is installing several docks and boat lifts. This is one of about 700 dock installations they'll do this spring.
"We're almost a whole month earlier than we were last year," said Todd Simison, who supervises from the dock. He's run TS Dock and Lift for 17 years, and has never seen the ice go out in March.
"I'm 45 years old and I don't ever remember in my whole life span it's ever gone out this early," he said.
The only earlier ice out on Detroit lake happened in 1910.
Simison hopes whitecaps in March are a harbinger of a rebound in his business.
"You know I think it's gonna make a lot of the lake people come down that much earlier. That's definitely a good thing. It gets them thinking summer, gets them out buying things sooner. The economy over the past three years has definitely taken a big impact on the dock and lift business," Simison said.
"The boat sales have probably been cut in half. Now this year, we've got a lot of people shopping for new docks and lifts, new boats, new pontoons — which is going to mean good things for us."
- Morning Edition, 03/30/2012, 6:20 a.m.