The owners of a marina in Richmond, California were challenged by an outdated, underutilized dock. They found themselves frequently turning away big boats. Their solution, reconfigure the dock they had to maximize slip revenue and create new revenue streams.
Bellingham Marine recently completed a renovation project for Marina Bay Yacht Harbor, in northern California. Although the marina’s challenges are not uncommon, their approach for overcoming them is somewhat unique.
G-dock at Marina Bay had a number of problems. But the most frustrating for the marina was the high vacancy rates of the dock’s small slips. At the same time, the marina was turning away larger boats looking for moorage.
For any marina suffering from an outdated, underutilized dock, weak revenue streams, and /or are in a market where there is a shortage of slips for large yachts, Marina Bay offers a good example of a non-traditional solution.
Like most marinas, Marina Bay’s budget could not handle a major improvement project. But they did have some funds available that could be used for a small renovation.
For the residents of Townsville, the process of taking their boat out for a day on the water was riddled with frustration. Long waits and lack of parking combined with the stress often associated with launching and retrieving a boat (especially by individuals newer to trailered boating) was creating frequent outbreaks of ramp rage at the city’s boat launch parks.
The small town of Townsville, located in North Queensland adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, is heavily steeped in a culture of boating. The town has a population of 171,000 residents and nearly 26,000 of them have a boat under eight meters long. With only eleven existing boat ramps to service all the city’s boaters, the city was simply unable to handle the number of boats wanting to get on the water each day.
A vacant industrial property on Ross River provided the perfect location for a new park with ample room for parking and enough waterfront for the construction of four boat ramps, each with four lanes, and two public fishing pontoons.
Although the site was a perfect location, heavy public use, concerns of flooding and cyclone conditions, and the desire to make the park easily accessible during daylight as well as non-daylight hours required a number of unique design considerations in the construction of the ramps and pontoons.
Walers are structural beams mounted flush to the deck of the Unifloat concrete floating dock from Bellingham Marine. They attach to the float by long rods threaded at the ends. Called “through rods,” they span the width of the float and are held in place with washers and nuts.
Walers can be made of a variety of structural materials depending on the engineering requirements of the marina. These include structural timbers, composite materials, steel and other materials. The vast majority of Unifloat systems employ structural timbers although Bellingham Marine has built marinas with walers of other materials as appropriate to the project.
Concrete floating dock marinas are manufactured and assembled in modules. Modular construction allows bending at the float connections to provide flexibility appropriate to a structure on water subject to wave action. In addition, the manufacture and installation of the docks is more manageable when floats are cast and transported in modules. A further benefit is that modules can be removed and replaced; in the unlikely event that this is necessary, individual modules can be disassembled and modified as needed.
Typically on our blog I like to write technical or educational pieces that have an overall focus on marina design best practice, innovation and industry trends.
I make a conscious effort to stay away from brand specific pieces as I do not want to compromise the credibility of our blog by including sales pitches.
This article strays a bit from my traditional focus but I thought it still worthwhile to share as many of our readers are familiar with the Unifloat concrete dock system and may have the same question one of our recent clients had – What is the difference between the Unifloat system you produce today vs. the one you manufactured thirty to forty years ago?
For all intents and purposes, to the untrained eye, today’s Unifloat dock system looks very similar to the ones manufactured by the company in the mid to late 1900’s – after all, today’s Unifloat is characterized by the same overall design concept as the original. The modules are still made from concrete, most commonly connected by treated timber walers, which are held in place by through-rods.
We’ve all head the phrase reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce our level of consumption, reuse a product for another purpose rather than just throwing it away, and once a product can no longer be used recycle it.
When I was young my mom would save every glass jar that came into our house — relish jars, mayo jars, peanut butter jars, pickle jars you name it. If it was glass, once the contents has been devoured she’d carefully remove the label, wash the jar and place it in the cupboard where it awaited its next life. If it was a “good” jar it would become one of our drinking glasses, if it was a big mouthed jar it was used for canning (those must have been the bad jars). If it didn’t fit into one of those categories she inevitably found a use for it somewhere around the house – cotton ball holder, money jar, and my favorite – caterpillar home.
You may have heard someone boast about the hundred different uses for duct tape. My mom had a hundred different uses for glass jars. She was creative in her thinking and was never bound to the confines of the jar’s origination.
I recently received some photos from a gentleman in New Zealand. The pictures were of a public park in New Zealand’s Wynyard precinct. What stood out to me was the park’s creative landscaping. Carefully integrated throughout the park were old Unifloat® concrete dock modules that had been cleaned up and strategically placed. Some were used to provide seating areas around the basketball court and other general gathering spaces; while others were functioning as retaining walls. They did not look out of place but rather purposeful and intriguing in their use and placement.