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.