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The Marina Industry In 2014


Stamped concrete decks are an easy way to add an architectural detail to you marina

Stamped concrete decks are an easy way to add an architectural detail to your marina facility.

As one year comes to a close and a new year begins, we are often asked “what is your outlook for the coming year for the marina industry” or “what are some of the trends you’re seeing and what can we expect to see more of.”

Although much of our comments are logged by editors and shared in their publications, I thought it worthwhile to share some of our comments directly with our readers…

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Quality Assured. Don’t just take your suppliers word for it.

Posted on by RComstock
ISO Certification

Bellingham Marine is proud to be an ISO registered company with a strong foundation that benefits the health of our company as well as that of our customers.

In a recent focus group, participants were asked how they would choose between similarly capable marina companies when it came to purchasing a new dock system. What would be most important to you? For the participants, quality was the number one determiner followed by value.

Although the group shared a number of strategies they would use to determine the level of quality, some insight into a company’s commitment to quality can gained by seeing if they are quality certified.

For those who want the best value and highest level of quality from their suppliers, an ISO Registered Manufacturer is a good place to start. The program’s independent registrar audit can be a key discriminator of a company’s commitment to quality and action.
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Let’s Get Technical about Freeboard and Live Load Capacity

Live Load Capacity

A floating dock’s live load capacity is basically the amount of weight the dock can hold without sinking.

If you work in the marina industry it is important to understand the difference between freeboard and live load capacity and how the two affect the stability and use of a floating dock.

Freeboard, in simple terms, is the height of a dock’s deck above the water.

Live loads are variable and include all unfixed items on the dock such as people and personal items. Basically live loads are how much weight you want a dock to support without sinking.

The two are related. The more live load placed on the dock the greater affect that extra weight has on how high the dock floats in the water.

This is where the discussion gets more technical. All things float based on the concept that they displace the water they are floating on. Salt water weighs approximately 64 pounds per cubic foot. So if we divide 64 by 12 we get 5.33 pounds, which means, if we’re using round numbers, if 5 pounds of pressure is applied to the top of an object, measuring one square foot, floating in salt water, the object will sink 1 inch.

With that simple concept in mind, we can show how live load capacity affects the freeboard of the two most common types of floating dock systems. Continue reading →

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.

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Should you Require your Dock Builder to be Bonded

Posted on by RComstock
Marina Construction - Cabrillo Way Marina

The Port of L.A. required its marina builder to carry a performance bond on their project at Cabrillo Way Marina to help reduce their risk exposure during construction of the marina.

Embarking on a major renovation of your marina or starting the process of building a new facility is filled with a variety of risks. Maximizing your opportunities to limit those risks will help ensure the successful completion of your project.

One of the ways to help minimize your risk as an owner or developer is to require your general contractor or marina builder to carry a performance and payment bond.  Your contractor’s ability to be bonded at a favorable rate is a good indicator of the company’s financial security as well as their ability to perform the required work.

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A Look Back at 2012 in the Marina Industry

YCCS Marina, Virgin Gorda

The extra wide floating docks at YCCS marina are perfect for accommodating the crowds of people that visit the facility during the club’s annual Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous.

The passing of time is inevitable; another year has come and gone and we are now well into 2013. For the marina industry, 2012 continued a steady march forward toward greater innovation, higher customization and a stronger push for value. Part fueled by tighter budgets and part by improvements in materials and technologies, the marina industry is becoming leaner and more advanced.

A look back at the many discussions with owners and developers over the year reveals an ever increasing importance being placed by owners on aesthetics, functionality and last but not least value.

Many of the trends in aesthetics center on customization and personalization. Each year, the number of clients requesting colored and /or stamped concrete docks increases. Rounded finger ends are becoming a standard feature in Australia and are continuing to increase in popularity in the U.S., use of LED lighting is becoming more widespread, and requests for hardwood and composite trim packages are starting to show up in large public projects. The high-end finishes and architectural details once reserved for the most elite marina facilities are making their way into the mainstream. Those looking for more elaborate designs are taking notes from the yachting industry. Sleek finishes, organic styling and use of advanced lighting technologies are setting the stage for today’s most luxurious marina properties.
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Use of Treated Wood Products in the Construction of Floating Dock Systems

Timber Floating Docks

The perception that treated wood products are less environmentally sensitive than other available products for the construction of floating dock systems is not based on empirical data but rather opinion.

There are many hazards that threaten our natural resources and careful management of human activities is essential.  However, sustainable management carries with it a responsibility to segregate real from perceived threats and to focus our energy on the real hazards.  – Dr. Kenneth M Brooks

Wood is an ideal marine construction material for floating dock structures.  Its resilience to wind and wave exposure makes it a perfect building material for this application. Wood can’t rust, won’t corrode and is surprisingly fire resistant. Most importantly, it can bend or “deflect” an infinite number of times when loaded without weakening or yielding its strength.   In addition to wood’s inherent natural properties, its environmental benefits over other common construction materials have been documented in numerous studies and papers.  According to the USDA, “wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials.”[1]

However, for wood to meet its true potential as a sustainable building material in the marina industry, it is critical that it be properly fabricated and treated for use in aquatic environments. Without proper protection wood is vulnerable to rot, decay and destruction from marine organisms.   Use of wood preservatives is important for the longevity of structures within our marinas and the sustainability of our forests.  Long lasting treated wood products mean that docks and other over water structures will not need to be replaced or repaired as often; thus avoiding unnecessary disturbance that occurs to the environment during construction and requiring use of fewer trees.

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Custom Dock Systems for Private Boat Owners

Private floating dock

The homeowners of this custom boat dock in California incorporated an access panel in the deck of the dock for their lobster traps.

Over the past 20 years we’ve seen a major advancement in the marina industry from off the shelf dock systems to custom engineered designs that are suited for a specific site and its users.  This shift has taken a little longer to trickle down to the residential market but is now gaining momentum.  Homeowners are realizing that they don’t have to settle for a one size fits all dock system for their home.  They can have a boat dock that caters to the specific needs of their location, their family and their guests.

Following a trend seen among large scale marina projects, homeowners are incorporating decorative concrete and hardwood or composite trim packages on their concrete floating docks to create an upscale and personalized look.  These upgrades are gaining attention in the market but are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to customization of private docks.

One of the most unique projects currently under construction is for a homeowner in the Bahamas.  For this project Bellingham Marine designed and fabricated a 54’ floating timber dock complete with utilities, boat lift, gazebo platform and gangway.  Additional design details included a timber handrail system, decorative rafters and bracing components, and a custom roof structure that doubles as a rain collection system.  The rain collection system stores and treats up to 60 gallons of water for use on the dock. The system can be operated by gravity feed or pump for greater pressure.

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Plan Ahead for Your Marina’s Future Funding Needs

Posted on by RComstock
Rebuild of Cabrillo Way Marina

In 2011, Cabrillo Way Marina in California completed a comprehensive rebuild of their entire marina.

The topic of replacement cost is a subject I wrote on several years ago; however, I think it’s an important topic for marina owners and one worth revisiting.  Whether you’ve recently completed a total rebuild of your marina or are beginning to realize that the life of your current docks is finite, taking a good look at the future replacement cost is an exercise worth doing.  It makes good business sense and will help you better plan and prepare for the future of your marina.

The question for many marina owners is “what will it cost to replace our docks in ‘x’ number of years and how will we fund it?”

Although there are a number of variables that will affect the answer to this question, the heart of the question can be answered by calculating the time value of money and the future cost of a marina rebuild.

Here is a list of the variables that you’ll need in order to make a reasonable estimate.

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HDPE Pile Sleeves can Add to the Longevity of your Floating Dock Marina

Posted on by RComstock
HDPE pile sleeve used in dock construction

The HDPE pile sleeve is a great option for marinas looking for products that are long lasting and maintenance free.

The quest to find longer lasting, lower maintenance building materials is endless, especially in the marina industry where salty seas, ice, extended exposure to sun, and relentless wave action are strong contenders in the battle of man versus nature.  Constant exposure to the elements in the marine environment can attack even the strongest of materials.

A fairly recent advancement in the industry that boasts product longevity is the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pile sleeve, used to protect steel as well as timber pile.  The sleeve is an alternative to traditional treatment methods and is proving to be a viable option for marinas looking for a pile that is longer lasting and requires less maintenance.

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