A Safer Port: The Redevelopment of Fireboat Station 15’s Dock
August 14, 2020
Bellingham Marine lead the redevelopment of The Long Beach Fire Department’s Fireboat Station 15 ensuring a safer port for the community.
On the coast of Southern California, the Port of Long Beach is known as the second busiest port in the United States and connects 217 seaports worldwide. The port is made up of ten piers, eighty berths, twenty-two shipping terminals as well as three large marinas. The Long Beach Fire Department is responsible for protecting the area using fireboats and has recently undergone a full redevelopment of Fire Station 15 which is situated on the main channel.
Bellingham Marine was tasked with supplying a stable, robust, and unsinkable floating platform to support the improved fireboat operations. The constraints of the fixed docks and building structures surrounding the dock limited the float width to 12’-6” and made dock stability one of the more challenging aspects of this project. The limited width meant that a full depth concrete floating structure could not provide adequate roll stability, even with extensive ballasting. Bellingham Marine developed an elevated deck option that provides the required stability and meets the freeboard needs of the fireboat. Dustin Saldivar, engineer, noted, “the integration of the walking surface with the fenders and bollards was particularly challenging. By creating a 3D model of the entire structure, we were able to iterate different options and we ultimately ended up with a nice clean finish.”
From start to finish, the effort to complete the dock required working alongside both engineering firms and contractors. Bellingham worked closely with the engineers at Jacobs, formerly known as CH2M Hill, to implement this design and incorporate all the necessary fendering and mooring accessories for serving the fireboats at the station. In addition to the fendered stanchions along the dock, the pile guides incorporate energy absorbing fenders to reduce peak loads on the pile system. The prime contractor served as the contractor while Bellingham Marine provided technical advisory throughout the process.
The match-cast, post-tensioned dock system was constructed in 12 modules, each 12’-6” wide x 8’ long with shear keys cast-in at the end of each module. The entire dock was assembled on land and lifted at two points to place it in the water. The final 96’ dock consists of a concrete box beam supporting a steel frame and fiberglass panel superstructure. The elevated deck is lightweight yet robust and corrosion resistant. It also provides extensive space for incorporation of utilities in a configuration that is easy to inspect and maintain.
The Fireboat Station 15 dock will accommodate fireboats up to 108’ and is now complete after eight months of intensive effort.