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Think You’ll Need a Barge for Your Shoreline Project? Think Again

Think You’ll Need a Barge for Your Shoreline Project? Think Again

You may find it hard to get two bare tootsies onto your shoreline, so how is anyone supposed to get an excavator, a Bobcat, a crew of guys, and many thousands of pounds of riprap stone to the water’s edge?  If it even can be done, how can the shoreline restoration be done without taking crazy risks, ruining your patio or walkway, or turning your grass into a smoothie?  Surely a barge MUST be needed to float everything into position – right?

Nope.  Unless you live on an island without a bridge, there’s a 95% chance you will not need a barge.  As cool as a floating jobsite may sound and look, the overwhelming probability that you won’t need a barge is very good news, mainly because using a barge for a shoreline project EXPENSIVE.  Air Force One may rack up less of a bill than a barge does.

A few factors that make barges expensive:

  1. Fuel and transportation costs to get it to the jobsite.
  2. Fuel costs while running on the jobsite.
  3. Licenses to operate the barge legally.
  4. Permits required to operate the barge at a point of public access or on certain bodies of water.
  5. Permits required to drop stone and other materials on certain municipal property.
  6. More man-hours required on the jobsite, because everything goes more slowly than usual.
  7. Keeping the barge in good repair year-round.

(Of course, using a barge isn’t even an option if the water near your shoreline is too shallow.)

On the off-chance you need a barge, then all of that probably sounds like bad news, and for good reason.  But the good news is in 25+ years of building shorelines we’ve never come across a shoreline that we weren’t able to riprap and restore due to a lack of equipment access.  We always establish a beachhead, and we can always do the work we need to do.

Besides our resourcefulness, our big secret advantage is our custom-made material chutes.  These long, flexible tubes allow us to load in materials wherever our trucks have access and drop those materials exactly where they need to go on your shoreline.  Functionally, they’re a bit like those bizarre pneumatic tube systems we used to see in some stores, banks, and other buildings back in the day.


We can load in just about any material we need to restore your shoreline: riprap stone, sand, aggregate, topsoil, decorative rock, and more.  Although we only use our chutes for materials, some of our “skinnier” guys have always dreamt of taking a Six Flags ride down to the water.  Nevertheless, we had to put the kibosh on that idea.

Most of the time, the main reason landward access is difficult is that the shoreline is at the bottom of a steep slope.  But that’s precisely the ideal situation for our material chutes: a steep grade allows us to use a straight, fast run of chute that is unlikely to get clogged.  As with drainpipes, there’s an ideal pitch that allows for steady flow.  (In the case of material chutes, the ideal pitch is “the steeper the better.”)

If your project is one of the extremely few where a barge makes sense, we’ll make it as efficient and cost-effective as possible, on the way to building you the toughest, finest shoreline money can buy.  Far more likely, though, is that you’ll only need our legendary chute system, despite the difficult shoreline access.  In that case, you can take some peace of mind in knowing that you saved a few bucks vs. having to bring in a barge, and so perhaps you can get started on your new shoreline today.