Jeff Ryan proclaims himself the envy of the lake. He says it's because of the remote-controlled Schweiss "Red Power" Hydraulic door he installed on his new boathouse. Perhaps it has something to do too with the pleasure craft he keeps inside: a beautifully maintained 1955 Chris Craft Continental.
Ryan's boathouse sits on Lake Vermilion, which would also be reason for envy.
In the 1940s, the National Geographic Society declared Lake Vermilion one of the top 10 most scenic lakes in the United States. And it still is today. With its 40,000 acres of water, 365 islands and 1,200 miles of shoreline, it stretches 40 miles across the heart of Minnesota’s northeast Arrowhead Region.
The door install came as part of Ryan's floor-up boathouse re-build. It was a tricky job…at least compared to building something on dry land. Ryan said he initially was going to begin while there was still ice on the lake but because he got started late, the new door had to be put on a barge in the spring, then eased it up to the front of the boathouse to bolt it on. Getting the door to the dock and in position took more time than the actual install.
“We put some weight on this door. It has wood planks on the inside and outside, and a steel frame," recalled Ryan. "This was a pretty heavy door, about 700 pounds (12.5 x 6.5 ft). It installed real easy. My guys did it for me; they put the door on in a day. The important thing was Brent (at Schweiss Doors) gave me all the dimensions prior so I had the cutout the exact size. So when we put it in, it fit perfect. It took about four hours to actually hang the door.”
The boathouse is clad with log-sided cedar wood planks on the outside and 3/4” tongue and groove inside. The re-build also included all new electrical wiring, new cribs and new supports for the roof and walls.
The boat sits on a rail system built into the ceiling, and with the use of electric hoists the boat is lifted or lowered in and out of the water. This allows the boat to be stored in the boathouse over the winter, if Ryan wants. The hoists are on rollers that allow the boat to be moved forward and backward depending on the water level.
Because of the occasional strong winds on the west side of the lake, the experts at Schweiss Doors recommended the boathouse doors be wind-rated at 90 mph.
“I considered a (Schweiss) Bifold Door, but because of the height and the water height going up and down, I didn’t want to be ducking down to get the boat on and off,” noted Ryan. “The old door was basically a roll-up garage door, which obviously wouldn’t have worked with my hoist system.”
The damp and dingy interior of the old boathouse is gone. The revamped interior is so nice now you could have a party in it. After a summer season of use, Ryan said there’s nothing he would have done differently.
Lake Vermilion has long been known for its beautiful houseboats, now it can also be known for its beautiful boathouse.
“My neighbor said it’s overkill. But it’s beautiful,” said Ryan with a grin.
To see a videos of Ryan's boathouse door in action, click here and here.
To see more on this project on the Schweiss Doors website, click here.