The Town of Palm Beach Marina, the only public marina located on the 18-mile (29km) long barrier island between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, reopened to the public in November 2021 after a $40 million rebuild. Completed on time and under budget, it provides a significant upgrade to the marina facilities in Palm Beach County, Florida, and its first year of operation has been a huge success.
Development of the master plan, which began in January 2017, was approved by the Town Council on 10th April 2018. And, as South Florida is experiencing increasing demand for larger slips, the approval of the project design addressed the growing need to expand the marina to allow access for larger vessels, including superyachts.
Murray Logan Construction was chosen as the general contractor for the project and Bellingham Marine was contracted to undertake the marina portion of the extensive renovation. Working together with the Town’s consulting engineer, Baird, the scope of work included total replacement and redesign of the existing marina, and installation of a hurricane-rated Unifloat concrete floating dock system which was put through its paces with minimal ensuing damage by Hurricane Ian. Steel pipe piling with HDPE sleeves, installation of ADA compliant aluminium gangways and waterside utilities were included.
The marina now comprises 84 slips, ranging from 60 to 294ft (18 to 90m) divided between three docks: the Brazilian, Australian and Peruvian. An additional 250ft (76m) structure, the Royal Palm Dock, was included in the project to accommodate superyachts through the use of side ties. Before the renovation, the marina was only able to accommodate one 200ft (61m) yacht, but with the completion of the project it has increased this capacity tenfold.
To spark the imagination of those contemplating similar projects in their marinas, Robert Wilkes highlights ten of the best Bellingham Marine marina rebuilds.
Best Superyacht Marina:
Rybovich, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
You won’t find a marina and shipyard more tailored to serving the needs of superyacht owners and crews than Rybovich, the world’s pre-eminent superyacht facility. The marina can accommodate yachts of 120m (400ft) with high freeboard, heavy duty docks; in-slip refueling; abundant power and the ability to service yachts right from the docks. Specializing in 10-star concierge service, crews enjoy hotel-like amenities and an on-site bistro social life. The shipyard can haul out most yachts and also has a 2,500- ton floating dry dock. A new 14 acre (5.6ha) work-site was recently added nearby and a channel was dredged to integrate the two sites. Read more about developer’s plans for Rybovich, best superyacht, destination marina.
Best Iconic Boat Show Venue:
Bahia Mar Yacht Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
Bahia Mar Yacht Center is one the earliest and longest serving venues of the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – the largest boat show in the world – and the 2002 rebuild ensures that it will continue in that tradition. Masterfully designed, the marina functions as a world class superyacht center 11 months out of the year. The magic begins in October when the marina expands from 242 large yacht slips and side ties into a 1,000-boat gunwale-to-gunwale moorage for the iconic Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The rebuild transitioned the marina from fixed to floating docks and incorporated a one of- a-kind electrical system with custom-built distribution panels for the show. The system ensures adequate power for all the yachts on display. Learn more about the award winning marina at Bahia Mar Yachting Center.
For an owner thinking of building a marina or rebuilding an existing marina, the new Attenuator Planning Tool is a sensible way to kick off or accelerate a project.
By Robert Wilkes
The new Attenuator Planning Tool was developed by Bellingham Marine and SmithGroupJJR. It saves time and money; a lot of time and money. A pre-construction evaluation process would normally take weeks and run up a tidy number of engineering hours. Using the Attenuator Planning Tool takes about four or five minutes and is free. The tool answers key questions about wave attenuation in normal and extreme weather conditions. The resulting data is directly related to the cost and feasibility of the project.
The system was a cooperative project by Bellingham Marine and SmithGroupJJR. Jack Cox has 40 years of experience in marina and harbor engineering and wrote a book on floating wave attenuators. He’s also one of the authors of “Planning and Design Guidelines for Small Craft Harbors,” the current standard for marina layout and design.
Margaret Boshek is also an accomplished and comprehensively trained coastal engineer with a talent for building computer-based analysis tools. She encoded the system and created the user-friendly interface for both the Attenuator Planning Tool and the Wind/Wave Analysis Program. The system allows the user to change the variables and test multiple design choices quickly. Once the required data is loaded in, the user can vary a number of factors and see the effects a few seconds later.
Embattled by rising maintenance costs, Alamitos Bay Marina initiated a program in 2005 to rebuild all 1,962 slips in seven different basins.
By Robert Wilkes
The timber docks dated from the 1960’s and were 20 years past their projected life span. No one at the City of Long Beach, California, imagined it would take the next 13 years to complete the project.
The marina is south of Los Angeles and enjoys a uniquely loyal customer base. There are tenants who have been there for decades whose children and grandchildren are also renting slips. Over time, neighboring tenants have formed tight communities.
The City’s marinas are operated by the Marine Bureau, part of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. Three City-owned marinas total 3,337 slips: Alamitos Bay Marina, Long Beach Shoreline Marina and Rainbow Marina. Alamitos Bay is the largest marina in the U.S. The rebuild project started in 2005 and has been undertaken in phases. The final phase will be completed in mid-2018.
Reasons for the length of the project are size, environmental compliance and the timing of funding. Elvira Hallinan is the Marine Bureau Manager. “Most operators have a marina the size of one of our basins,” said Hallinan. “We had seven basins to rebuild. It wasn’t a project, it was a journey.” Delays caused by the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) were unanticipated. Contractors were ready to begin when the requirement for a full EIR delayed the start of construction. Continue Reading…
For versatility, it’s hard to beat concrete floating platforms.
By Robert Wilkes
Floating platforms provide foundations for stores, offices, yacht clubs, rowing club facilities, boat rental concessions, charter and cruise companies, customs offices, harbormaster offices, restaurants, bars, restrooms and houses. They serve as ferry and water taxi landings and create a platform for event space, rowing docks, swimming pools, helicopter landing pads, even floating golf greens, such as the 14th green at The Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho.
The performance and endurance of concrete floating platforms is outstanding. They can be built with almost any freeboard and can be square, round, curved, sloped, stepped, notched and decked in any way the owner specifies. They support building of every style and building material. Floating platforms are limited only by the imagination.
Many public and some private marinas invite the public to experience the waterfront. In a social-equality world, marina projects win public support by incorporating community activities and park areas and opening promenades and beaches to all. Alamitos Bay in Los Angeles, California, has done away with fences and security gates altogether.
Floating platforms help make marinas more accessible. Marina and park complexes, such as Marina Park at Newport Beach or The Yards in Washington, D.C., provide romantic event venues, schools and classrooms, and places for family gatherings. Continue Reading…