Many people ask us if they need to worry about waves pushing their pier over. Waves have very little horizontal pushing power. What little pushing power they do have is likely to be in the direction toward shore. So if they do rise up and hit a pier they don’t push sideways enough to push a pier over. Waves move mostly up and down so the bigger problem is whether they get big enough to be higher than the top of the pier. If they do, they can push up on the deck panels and eventually push them off the frame. When we sell you a pier, we ask you questions about your location to determine whether that is likely to happen. If it is, we recommend panel clips, which lock the panels to the pier fame. The prudent approach, the one we will recommend, is to order the legs so that the pier remains high enough above the water to avoid the need for panel locks in the first place. On larger lakes, that height-above-water is a little harder to predict (and, for the owner, perhaps inconvenient) so we then recommend the panel locks. Sometimes only experience over the years or queries to the neighbors will give a reliable and safe height-above-water for your pier. Waves sometimes look a lot higher than they actually are.
Another question we get is whether the wind is going to blow the panels off the frame. The short answer is probably no – with the following caveat. If there is a strong wind coming in, it is most likely coming basically toward shore and is accompanied by large waves. Unless the waves are lapping up to the panels and lifting them as described above, the wind has nothing to catch. So the wind can only finish what the waves would have done by themselves anyway. Here again the panel locks take care of both the waves and the wind. Can the wind blow the pier over from the side? Probably not. Strong winds from the side are unusual in the first place unless you are on a very long lake. If that is the case, we would certainly recommend not tying any boats, especially pontoon boats, to the pier. They are more properly housed on a lift.
There can always be freak weather occurances that will make any pier vulnerable. But that is what insurance is for.