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.”
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.
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.
Bellingham Marine General Manager of Australasia, John Spragg recently traveled to China to present at the country’s first dedicated marina conference. Spragg, a well-respected veteran of the marina industry, is responsible for overseeing Bellingham Marine’s operations throughout Asia, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and the South pacific.
Over 100 delegates including some of China’s leading marina developers and operators attended Spragg’s presentation on marina design and wave attenuation. “His presentation was extremely informative and addressed a number of key issues we should be cognizant of when building a new marina facility. He also gave explanations of engineering issues we all could now understand,” said one of the conference attendees following Spragg’s presentation. Highlights from Spragg’s presentation include:
- Marina site selection and wave design criteria
- Proper wave protection and acceptable wave height within the marina basin
- Explanation of wave related definitions and data
The conference was held at the newly completed Nansha Marina, located in the Pearl River estuary in China on October 10th and 11th. The Yacht CN 2012 boat show opened following the conclusion of the conference.
Everett Babbitt, President of Bellingham Marine, said, “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to present at China’s inaugural marina conference. It’s great to see the country’s enthusiasm for the emerging industry. ”
The marina industry in China is still in its infancy but is showing promise for growth. According to Yang Xinfa, chairman of the China Boat Industry and Trade Association, there are over 2,000 leisure boats currently registered within the country. In his presentation at the conference Yang stated that he believes there’s a potential for much faster growth as there are many marina projects in the planning stage.
As the world’s leading marina design-build construction company, Bellingham Marine produces Unifloat® concrete floating dock systems as well as timber and metal frame systems. The company also produces Unistack® dry stack systems for marinas worldwide.
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.