Kevin Lemmers believes new docks at the Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area will attract plenty of interest this spring.
Six docks, being installed as part of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Fisheries Division’s Angler Access program, are being built by On The Water, a Fremont company working under the project’s general contractor, Thompson Construction Inc. of Arlington.
One dock already has been installed on Lake 1, and the next one will go on Lake 5 when weather permits.
“When we were putting that one in before it iced up, I had a couple guys come out, and you could tell they were champing at the bit, they were fishermen, so it’s nice to be able to do that for the public,” said Lemmers, On The Water’s general manager.
The Angler Access program, launched last fall, also includes reshaping banks, small fixed piers, access trails and handicap accessibility, all intended to give anglers better access to the water.
“I’ve really enjoyed having this project with the State Lakes. I think we’re putting something out there that’s going to benefit not only people with disabilities, but fishermen in general,” Lemmers said,
The company, which custom builds floating docks, boat lifts and accessories, moved back to Fremont last April after moving to Omaha a few years ago.
“I think we build the best quality of dock and the nicest looking dock,” Lemmers said. “I know they last a lifetime, and that’s what it’s all about. We invest in our homes, and this is part of that. Build them to last and keep it on the water.
“Mother Nature is pretty rough on docks, specifically the freeze-thaw and the ice,” he said. “What I find on the cheaper docks as far as longevity is you’re more susceptible to bending, and they are lighter, when they’re lighter you find that they bounce around a little bit more. Our docks, I could put 3,000 or 4,000 pounds of ballast on top of our floats to really ballast our dock down, so if a big wave comes in you’re barely feeling it.”
Modular frames are made of steel, and vinyl tongue-and-groove decking almost never has to be replaced.
“Our docks are built with boat protection in mind. Everything’s rub rail, upright bumpers for cleats to tie down the boat. We try to go the extra mile,” he said.
They also look nice, Lemmers added.
“When we trim it out with the fascia, I don’t see any other docks like that,” he said.
Docks in the State Lakes project have railings and concrete decking typically used for commercial applications.
“That stuff lasts forever, it’s good and strong, it’s a great ballast,” Lemmers explained. “We did use a 12-inch float instead of a 16-inch float because you can get different depths of floats. We did that to keep them down close to the water.”
The company can build anything from small lake-front docks to large marinas.
“I put in a large marina system at Woodcliff Lake,” said Lemmers, who lives at Woodcliff.
The project expanded the marina’s boat capacity from five or six to 18 with room to further add on.
On The Water built a large marina at Plattsmouth that survived massive flooding two years ago, but also recently built a small ornate dock on a pond for a private customer who is in the acreage fencing business.
“On the two front corners we made little four-foot rails with wrought iron geese and the fish flying in. ... It’s kind of a show dock for them to their customers,” he said.
On The Water has worked with the Game and Parks Commission before, including a new dock at Burchard Lake near the Kansas border, but he appreciates having his company’s work on display closer to home.
“We did get picked because we had the best bid, but it’s nice being local too,” he said.
Work during the colder months is done in a large shop area of one of the company’s two large buildings at 625 Treat St., but in the summer workers often build docks in a large outdoor lot between the buildings.
“Generally we prebuild, and we make them in a way that they can be taken apart, put on a trailer — sometimes a wide load — and taken out to the lakes,” Lemmers said. “We drop them into the lake, bolt them together, do the rest of the trim, float them over and put them in. Actually installing our docks on the property is less than an hour.”