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Dan Mulari (right) brings in a dock last week using a crane attached to pontoon boat. Mulari said that the new method helps his back, which he injured several years ago, by taking away 90 percent of the strain from lifting. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

Ogema man tries different method to remove docks

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Rural Ogema resident Dan Mulari and his wife, Karen, decided something different needed to be done to save Dan's back from the strains of removing docks in the fall.

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He seriously injured his back several years ago, and standing in cold water was just getting to be too much.

So, he came upon a mechanical way to remove docks. Mulari used to rely on inner tubes to float the dock toward shore.

"I used to do it all manually, but then I got a little bit smarter," Mulari said.

By using a small crane attached to a pontoon, he's able to avoid the heavy lifting that was common.

"I was going to quit doing it because of the back injury," Mulari said.

With the crane in place, he said that 90 percent of the lifting is done mechanically. He said he's just in the water guiding the dock now. The cold water didn't help, Mulari said.

"The really cold water bothered me a little," he said. "But it's not nearly as bad."

Now he said he could work about eight hours a day clearing docks before feeling discomfort. Last year, he said he would only be able to work about half of a day before his back started to hurt.

"I thought, 'I better cool it before it locks up for awhile,'" he said.

Using a crane for dock removal isn't a new concept.

Mulari said he saw a company utilizing a similar system in Dassel. That system used a bigger crane, though. Getting help from local welder and engineer, Arnie Kiehl, they came up with their system.

"I thought I'd just try a smaller version," he said.

While it helps with minimal physical strain, it might not help time wise.

"It depends how close I can get to the shore," he said.

Getting to within three feet is the goal.

He said he usually starts removing docks in the last week of September and hopes to get all his clients' docks out by early November at the latest.

"It usually takes three weeks for everything," Mulari said.

Mulari is always looking for new customers and is available at home by calling 983-3315 or on his mobile at 849-0385.

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