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New hydraulic system used at J&K marina

New hydraulic technology now allows J&K workers to bypass much of the physical demands of installing docks and lifts, as this hydraulic power hoist does it for them. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam

Only one week after Detroit Lake had its official April 26 ice-out, the marina that just screams summer is in.

Since 2002, J&K Marine has been sending crews of men to brave the frigid waters that just days before had ice.

Diving underneath lifts with cables to winch up sections of the 300 foot long, 300 foot wide marina and its 102 slips has always been physically tasking for these crews.

Until now.

This year those workers are having a much easier time of it, thanks to a new piece of equipment that J&K has invested in.

“We’re working smarter, not harder,” smiled J&K Co-owner Kevin Tinjum, demonstrating how the 25-foot floater barge works.

“It’s got a hydraulic power hoist,” he said, pushing a button that made the long arms of the flatbed go up and down.

Those arms will be saving on the human arms that would otherwise have to manually carry the docks and lifts into the water.

“Before this, we’d go around with like six-man crews and we’d just try to do it as fast as we could,” said Tinjum, who added that this massive job of installing the city beach marina and the other 250 docks and lifts around the area was one that could physically take a toll on the crews.

“It’ll make it so that it’s not as physical of a job, now the guys won’t be so tired out at the end of the day that they won’t even want to come to work the next day,” said Tinjum.

This new mechanical barge has been on Tinjum’s radar for a few years now.

“Since 2002 I’ve been on the loading crew, and I’ve always wanted to figure out a better way of doing this,” he said, “and now as our business is growing, we’re able to invest in new machinery and get it to the point where the guys aren’t doing everything.”

In fact, Tinjum can now cut his crews in half, which he says means it won’t take too long for the technology to pay for itself.

“We’ll be able to go to people’s places, pick them (the lifts) up like a forklift would, take them to the end of the dock and set them in the water without having to do it with manpower,” said Tinjum.

The entire marina on the city beach in Detroit Lakes should be completely installed and ready for summer by Monday.