A Look at Some of the World’s Largest Floating Concrete Ferry & Cruise Terminals

Posted on by RComstock

Over the past 12 months, Bellingham Marine has completed a handful of floating ferry and cruise ship terminals. With so many terminal installations going in worldwide, I thought it worth a closer look at a few of them. Their design showcases some of the most extreme technologies, engineering and design options available in the world of floating platforms and dock systems. Terminal sites are usually more exposed than your typical marina and the loads placed on the docks from heavy foot traffic, complex gangway and railing systems and not to mention large vessels are much greater than in your typical small boat harbor. Thus, the docks are beefy – built extra tough, and are designed to handle extreme conditions.

Stanley Bay Ferry Terminal

Stanley Bay Concrete Floating Ferry Terminal

The floating ferry terminal in Stanley Bay features a dual level freeboard.

Situated in the heart of Auckland, is the new Stanley Bay ferry terminal built for Auckland Transport. The terminal services ferries between downtown Auckland and the North Shore. The terminal’s post-tensioned floating concrete platform, which is used for loading and unloading passengers, measures 4.8 meters (16 ft) wide by 15 meters (49 ft) long. The platform is comprised of five concrete modules – the largest of which is 3.05 meters (10 ft) tall by 4.8 meters (15.7 ft) wide by 3 meters (9.8 ft) long and weighs over 22,000 kg (48,502 lbs). It features a split level deck that steps down from 1.5 meters (5 ft) to 1 meter (3.3 ft). The dual level freeboard allows the floating terminal to accommodate both larger and smaller ferries.

Beach Haven Ferry Terminal

Floating concrete ferry terminal at Beach Haven

The concrete floating docks at Beach Haven, which serve as a ferry terminal, feature an enclosed waiting area.

Similar in design but even more robust than its counterpart located in Stanley Bay is the new Beach Haven Ferry Terminal. This is the heavy weight champion of the floating terminals built to date by Bellingham Marine. Designed for a maximum wave height of 1.86 meters (6.1 ft), the Beach Haven terminal measures 6.6 meters (21.7 ft) wide by 15 meters (49.2) long. Each of the five pontoons that make up the post-tensioned floating platform weigh approximately 28,000 kg (61,729 lbs) and stand over 2.7 meters (8.8 ft) tall. Two rows of walers, one at deck level and one 500mm (1.5 ft) below, connect the individual pontoons together. A large step measuring 500mm x 1600mm (1.5 ft x 5.3 ft) was cast into three of the five modules. Like the Stanley Bay installation, the step creates a dual freeboard, which allows the floating terminal to cater to both larger and smaller ferries. The Beach Haven floating terminal is also fitted with a series of two covered gangways 15.6 meters (51 ft) and 24.5 meters (80 ft) long, a canopy covered deck, and an intricate hand railing system. The canopy encloses a waiting area on the floating platform complete with benches and regupol matted flooring-manufactured from recycled car tires.

Glen Cove Ferry Terminal

Glen Cove Floating Ferry Terminal

Glen Cove’s unique fender system allows ferries to pull in bow first.

Located on the other side of the world is the Glen Cove Ferry Terminal in Glen Cove, New York. Just as impressive as the installations in New Zealand, Glen Cove’s floating terminal measures 15 feet (4.6m) wide by 375 feet (114m) long and features a uniform five foot (1.5 meters) freeboard. In addition to the 375 foot (114m) long floating walkway, Glen Cove’s Terminal has a 31 foot (9.5m) by 30 foot (9.1m) loading platform. The platform is constructed from six match-cast modules each measuring 9 feet (2.7m) tall by 5 feet (1.5m) wide by 31 feet (9.5m) long and weighing 37,600 pounds (17,055kg). One of the more unique aspects of this terminal is the custom fendering system that allows ferries to pull in bow first and off load passengers directly from the front of the boat. The fender system is comprised of multiple 12 inch (305mm) fenders mounted to galvanized steel brackets that form an arch. The entire system is connected to the docks by way of the through-rods.

Flagship Cruises Terminal

Flagship Cruises floating terminal

The concrete floating docks at Flagship Cruises’ terminal in San Diego were designed and built by Bellingham Marine

If we go west to California, we’ll find yet another unique floating terminal installation built for Flagship Cruises, a premier yacht charter and cruise company, located in San Diego. Although the individual concrete modules at this facility are not of the same magnitude in terms of weight as those described at the sites above, the facility is nonetheless built tough to withstand heavy commercial use in extreme conditions. Several key factors drove the design of the Flagship facility including the site’s deep water, its exposure to waves, the needs of the large vessels, and the heavy foot traffic. The Flagship Cruise terminal is configured in a U-shape with 30 inch (762mm) freeboard. The floating concrete walkways are 14 – 16 feet (4.3 – 4.9m) wide with steel wide flange beam walers specially designed for a 3 foot (914mm) wave environment. The extra-wide walkways accommodate large crowds. Heavy duty ocean guard fenders are placed along the sides of the docks to protect the boats from direct contact with the steel walers. All power, water and pumpout connection points on the docks are concealed below the surface of the deck to keep walkways and provisioning areas free and clear of obstacles and equipment.

The water depth around the floating terminal is around 25 feet. 80 foot long by 24 inch diameter octagonal concrete pile were used to anchor the docks in place.

The gangways used to access the docks are just as impressive as the docks themselves. The facility has two covered gangways complete with LED rope lighting for user comfort. Each gangway can support 100 psf (4.8 kN/m2). The larger of the two is six feet (1.8m) wide, 80 feet (24.3m) long and has two isles. It features a bow truss design to help support the loads involved. The other gangway is four feet (1.2m) wide by 80 feet (24.3m) long.

Terminal Design

Like all marinas and dock installations, it is critical that floating platforms and terminals be engineered for the site and the specific vessels that will be using them. In commercial applications such as those described above, where loads are larger and exposure to wind and waves is greater than in a protected basin, the margin for error is small. The successful execution of these projects requires careful planning and attention to detail throughout the design, manufacture and installation process. For more information about floating ferry and cruise ship terminals please contact Bellingham Marine at bmi@bellingham-marine.com. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.