Marinas around the world have stepped-up to the call to be good environmental stewards. Responsible waterfront development can benefit the environment. Did you know a marina could actually enhance biological diversity and improve water quality? Concrete docks especially are beneficial to marine life.
By Robert Wilkes
Here is one view of marinas as stewards of the environment:
‘Marinas are businesses and are all about making money like other businesses. They will cut corners and look the other way where the environment is concerned rather than spend the energy, time and money to proactively protect it. Marina operators don’t have the training or just don’t care enough to put in the hard work of environmental stewardship. Marinas and the boats in them are loaded with noxious chemicals that leach into the water, pollute the environment and kill marine life. Boat owners are ‘one-percenters’ with big gas tanks and large carbon footprints who chuck garbage over the side and are a threat to clean water and sensitive marine life.’
Now that I’ve got your attention and the hair standing up on the back of your neck, we can at least agree these attitudes and beliefs exist. But this dismal picture is not true, not even close. When it comes to sustainability, clean water, habitat development and every other aspect of marine ecology, marinas and boat owners are doing a great job. They are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and competent stewards of the environment.
We have a deep and persistent perception problem. These false impressions can and do influence decisions by coastal planning boards and regulatory and permitting authorities, especially when they are under pressure from watchdog environmental groups.
As stewards of the marine lifestyle, it is important that we continually draw in new crowds to keep the industry alive. Find out how The Yards marina opened the DC waterfront up to a whole new generation of boating enthusiasts.
By Robert Wilkes
Children splashing under a waterfall in an enormous wading pool, a parade of mothers pushing strollers down the boardwalk, yoga classes, concerts, artisanal ice cream, taco-Korean fusion cuisine, residential apartments in a former Navy Yard foundry and office working spaces in a repurposed lumber shed are some of the things you’ll find at The Yards on the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.
The water is humming with life as well. Water taxis soon will take people to work and play. Paddleboards and kayaks explore the river, and on the Education Dock, Living Classrooms Foundation, a non-profit organization, teaches disadvantaged youth life skills and gives them hands-on job training.
On game day boaters moor at The Yards Marina, have dinner in an au courant locally owned restaurant, walk to Nationals Park baseball stadium to see a game and return home under the stars by boat — avoiding the traffic snarl on the highways. The Yards development has made this 48-acre, once-abandoned industrial site explode with life and created a new neighborhood on the river.
The waterfront of the United State’s capital is being transformed into a masterful work. Find out how #WharfDC is using DC’s unique waterfront location to build community pride and position the city for economic growth.
by Robert Wilkes
It’s a familiar story around the world. The once bustling waterfront, the city’s gateway to the world, was a tableau of sailing ships awaiting the tide. Then railroads and later automobiles turned the focus inland. The waterfront became a forgotten quarter of night clubs and bars surrounded by oily water and foul air.
By the 1950s and 60s, cities began building renewal projects that were mostly unremarkable single-use buildings with their backs to the water. Broad freeways truncated the waterfront from the rest of the city, leaving it isolated and neglected.
The dark days of urban waterfront neglect are over. There is a new sense of optimism, pride and possibility. Among a number of ongoing urban waterfront revitalisation projects, The Wharf in Washington DC is the largest in the US and arguably the most comprehensive and consequential. The District of Columbia, “the District” as the locals call it, is turning its face toward the water again.
Wave attenuator design is becoming more critical than ever to the success of your marina. Learn from the experts what you need to know when it comes to attenuator design.
By Robert Wilkes
Floating wave attenuators are a recurring subject in Marina Dock Age. Jack Cox wrote about them in “Revisiting Marina Design Standards” in the January/February 2017 issue. This month we present a wide-ranging dialogue between Cox and another experienced engineer, Craig Funston, focused on the question, “What basic knowledge should a marina developer have about wave attenuators?”
Let’s meet our engineers for this discussion. Jack Cox is a principal of SmithGroup JJR. Cox spoke to us from his office in Madison, Wisconsin. Craig Funston is principal of Redpoint Structures in Bellingham, Washington. Both have long résumés with impressive marina design projects, including dozens of wave attenuators, and both are respected experts in the field.
Marina Dock Age: Do you see any trends in developers’ criteria for tranquility inside a marina? What do they consider an acceptable wave environment?
Jack Cox: Owners used to tell me that if their marina was as calm as the competition, it’s calm enough. We’re not hearing that anymore. Marinas are becoming social neighborhoods and people like to spend time on their boats in the slips. Boaters used to be alarmed when sailboats rocked and their shrouds got tangled. Now they’re upset if a guest spills a martini while watching the sunset.
Craig Funston: I agree, but the trend toward quality is true of everything, not just marinas. If we all had to live in the small houses we had in the 1950s we wouldn’t be happy. Everything has gotten better, including marinas.
Get on board with the paddle boat trend and unlock a new revenue stream for your marina. The idea that marinas are only for the privileged can be a harmful attitude.
By Robert Wilkes
To many in our communities, the local marina is as distant and forbidding as Area 51. From the outside looking in, they see security fences and locked gates. The unintended message is, “The water is for the privileged few.”
That may be changing. There is a growing trend to build marinas with facilities for sailing dinghies and affordable human-powered water craft. Kayaks and other paddle boats are supplied by rental concessions or brought to the marina on a car top. Sailing dinghies are part of clubs and schools. When equipped with low freeboard or slanted-deck docks, young but eager student sailors build confidence by launching and retrieving their sailing dinghies unassisted.
Human-powered watercraft is the fastest growing segment of the boating industry. That’s not surprising given the surge in active outdoor lifestyles. How many friends did you see today wearing a Fitbit?