In this blog, John Hogan discusses the innovation and advancement of marinas and specifically marina fingers, which ensure a safer environment for boats when mooring.
For those of us that enjoy boating the revolution in marine technology has made boating much easier and safer. The range is staggering and a blog would never start to cover it, so here a couple of favourites that are inexpensive or free.
First up is the App easily downloaded called Shralp Tide (search app store on your phone). This free app has the tide information for sites all over the world for a period of 5 days out, there are a number of tide apps and here is a list of the top apps currently on iPhone. The high and low times are provided with another graphical feature included when you turn the phone or tablet sideways. This feature allows you to answer questions such as what is the latest time tomorrow that I will have sufficient air draft under a bridge. Such accurate data is invaluable to ensure a trouble free boating experience, where a relaxed informed skipper can focus on the enjoyment factor rather than the stress factor.
My other favourite is Navionics. While this does have a cost of $21.99 to download the maps, the value when planning any voyage is immediately obvious. We see professional skippers using this software so it must be good. Even with the excellent dash mounted system, having a tablet based backup with the entire voyage tracking as well is a real comfort.
The next great app we constantly use in our line of work is Australian Boat Ramp Finder at a cost of just $2.49 it gives you great information on boat ramps Australia wide and also gives you the option to add your favourite local ramp that may not be listed yet for others to share around you.
They say necessity is the mother of invention and so it is in our shop. Last year we were fortunate enough to win a project for 750m of floating walkway to an industrial installation. Once we had finished the high fives routine, somebody said, “do you realise we need to weld up 1.5km of handrails?”. Right then I know we needed a better way. This is because every handrail section was 3m long to match the floating modules and every section was a series of pipes, placed in a jog, them manually TIG welded to achieve the strength and finish required.
Hence the Edge™ was born. This system clips into the dogbones on the UMD system and locks in simply with a coach screw. The rails slip in with end caps cleverly designed to have an inner and outer curve so that they complement each other at joins. Without this, the joins will hit each other or create pinch points, so the design is both functional and aesthetic. To finish off the offering a kick rail is fitted to bolt into each staunchion. The first project with this system was well received and welcomed due to the ease of use and the added benefit of a high visibility yellow colour.
Next came the request for the same functionality on land and not just floating. Buoyed with our recent success, the R&D team produced a concept and we asked our customers how they felt about it. The feedback was incorporated and a mould completed to allow rotomoulded samples to be supplied. The mockup worked perfectly and also allowed a colour choice to be made. The first project is using a dark Monument Grey post with mill finish aluminium railings. The railings are angled to prevent climbing on the structure while still allowing for curves and angles to interlink the system.
The use of Rotomoulding technology in providing a safe system of edge protection makes commercial sense. This process provides strong posts through a deep web design, high numbers of colourful choices without additional painting or coating costs, a corrosion free surface and a much lighter unit that is colour through.
Superior Edge is a new application of a tried and proven technology. We are pretty excited about it and I’m thrilled to share this with our blog readers first. If you would like to try it out sometime, give me a shout and we would love to give a live demo.
In this weeks blog I would like to talk about the basics of navigation and beacons (Lateral Markers) when out on the water. As most of you know there are two main coloured buoys and beacons Green (Starboard Side) and Red (Portside) these indicate the port and starboard sides of navigable waters or channels.
Some of you, like me, may have entered unfamiliar territory in you’re boating career and stopped in a confused state or worst case scenario run aground. In this blog I would like to help refresh the minds of our readers in this recap of navigation.
Below Examples of Red & Green beacons and buoys (Beacons are fixed & Buoys float)
What beacon/buoy should be on what side?
When going upstream (away from the sea):
Keep red (port hand marks) on the left-hand side (to port).
Keep green (starboard hand marks) on the right-hand side (to starboard).
When going downstream (towards the sea):
Keep red (port hand marks) on the right hand side (to starboard).
Keep green (starboard hand marks) on the left-hand side (to port).
I recently visited Phil McGowan CMM at Birkenhead Point Marina. Phil was working on an idea for a quick response fire water pump that would also double as an emergency vessel pump out retrieval tool as well. I order to achieve this Phil wanted a system that made it easy to get the entire pump and suction hose to the site quickly.
The Superior Marina Mate is already a standard on marinas as a solid workhorse in many marinas. This product happened due to the urging of one Mat Bate who requested the product be fashioned after the successful Fibreglass units he had used in the past. Mat even wanted the name changed to MarinaBate not mate…… Why was that again Mat?!
The trolley is carefully designed to have robust a polyethylene tub, 316 stainless steel frame and pneumatic tyres. With the addition of a flat floor of CNC cut boat board their is an infill of flotation material underneath that makes the unit float. This flat floor was the perfect stage to fit the pump unit and accessories as seen below.
The modified trolley was delivered and the whole system works a treat.
The specifications are:
Pump: Aussie Pumps
Last Friday in bright sunshine and on a windless day in Portland, Victoria, a new chapter was heralded in the area’s long maritime history. It was a day when dreams came true for many people that have envisioned a better way to interact with the sea which is so important to this community. After visiting the new Port of Portland Marina for the official opening by Premier Denis Napthine with lots of visitors, we had time to take a walk over the site with the Marina Manager Gary Bebbington and the Project Managers Graham and Belinda Ainley from Ainley Projects. Ainley has decades of experience in civil, structural and environmental engineering. It was a rewarding time for the team to present this latest addition to the assets of the local community. The best part was the request for a post mortem walk around with just the four of us.
Although we are all happy with the outcome, and the system has already been tested with 40 knot winds, it was the insights gained that have value for those of us doing such projects in the future. Gary is a professional skipper who also has many years marketing experience, so it was very valuable to hear what he pointed out. Firstly the entrance to the whole project had land works “by others” yet the marina contract started from the mooring block of the gangway. In future it would pay to have a design meeting with both parties to ensure an integrated entrance, that has some seating and services to welcome visitors to the marina. We will take this on board.
Another item was the pedestals that were drawn in the tender documents on the fingers and therefore were placed as such. Now they are in close proximity to bowsprits on some vessels and a cause for concern. My personal preference is to always place all services on the main walkways and preserve “dumb” fingers that can easily be moved later utilising the T slot. This is a valuable feature of the Superior marina systems and allows users to modify their layout inexpensively as their market changes. Service free fingers should be adopted by the design community as a priority.
Security gates were another challenge brought on by local conditions. Bass Strait often throws up major winds and Portland is a very windy place. Therefore the sail area on clear Perspex security doors means they will not auto close. The issue was solved with a mesh upper panel however this is another opportunity for a fail proof design. Security on marinas is a tricky concept as it really prevents only those people who are basically honest and do not want to get wet! A determined intruder will obviously come by water regardless. However it is prudent to select carefully locations where minimal barriers can prevent easy dry walking access. This should be done without making larger mesh fences that make the whole site look like a jail. Using the water as a passive barrier is the trick and there is more to be done in this area yet.
This marina also has the largest installation to date as yet of the Superior fender soft touch system. There is well over 100m along the visitor access area where charter boats pick up customers where this soft touch is in operation. This inner radial matrix core will compress to half of its diameter without transmitting load onto the marina. This means a skilled skipper may call in to temporary dock without fenders while doing a passenger pickup. The charter skipper giving a tour to Premier Napthine today actually commented that he had upgraded his vessel to a diesel on the basis of the new marina to be ready for more business. He also has a side entry door fitted to satisfy demand for wheelchair access. This was in response to one determined customer, a lady who in a wheelchair kept saying ” when are you taking me fishing?”. Now with a specially equipped charter boat, soft touch fender and a carefully constructed disability access gangway, this dream is a reality.