In this weeks blog, John discusses the exciting water front developments progressing throughout Asia, and how Australia can benefit from being at the forefront of this growing industry.
Superior received an award at the Australian Marine Export & Superyacht Industry Awards held the week of the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. It was an honour to receive an award for our achievements offshore.
Superior has been focussed on an export strategy for over a decade and we are involved in many international projects that are exciting and challenging. Currently we are working on multiple projects in China including one marina in Nanchang as well as work in Shanghai. Other projects include delivery of our Capri products to Malaysia and ongoing work in the Seychelles. New projects are in the pipeline in other parts of China and Fiji.
The AIMEX Awards were held to reward the outstanding achievements of Australian marine industry exporters and the Australian superyacht industry manufacturers and service providers. Superior was recognised for the category ‘Best Marine Industry Export Marketing Strategy’. Superior has used a strategy of attending international exhibitions to establish a network of dealers and licensees. These local contacts are then able to offer fast services with a quality proven product either built in Australia, or locally using Superior designs and project management. Such innovation has expanded the reach of the company, which now offers value into markets once deemed to difficult to service.
The award was welcome recognition for the significant commercial and government projects we have undertaken around the world including marinas, jetties, ferry terminals, piling and resort aquatic areas.
Many marina owners are faced with the challenge of how to determine the fair cost of a major capital investment such as a new floating marina. The actual product is a combination of structural and civil engineering, geotechnical and environmental considerations along with complex social issues throughout the increasingly detailed approval processes. After myriad issues one can hear the collective sigh of relief that the life cycle of such structures exceeds 20 years.
Given the size of the investment we like to suggest some care goes into the early choices that set the foundations of ongoing cost of ownership and maintenance. Many of these issues are covered in our book Sustainable Marina Development published recently. The primary choice is the site and this is critical with an old adage being that if the location is somewhere that is a safe anchorage, then that is the first clue to being a good marina site as well.
Once the site is closed and secured the issues turn to the type if floating berths and how they are secured in place. The primary consideration in floating berths is to have enough mass to minimise passing wakes or waves that cause movement in the marina. This movement translates into maintenance and therefore cost, so a smooth site is a happy site for all concerned. Heavy concrete marinas exceed 300kg per square metre and this serves to make the site very secure by ironing out surface chop. It will not stop a major swell and cannot make a bad site into a good one.
Sometimes metal decked systems with bolted flotation is preferred. This is useful where current or floods are a consideration as the gaps in the flotation are useful to allow debris and current to pass by the structure. The mass may be less than concrete however the system is designed with strong metal connections that hold the whole system in place.
Regardless of the system that is chosen the elements need to be good quality with a well thought out design. Services should be easily accessible and have redundancy to allow for future technology and growth in demand. Cleats need to be designed to break prior to the marina pontoons and in this way minimising damage and repair costs. This may seem unnecessary until a boater powers out of a berth with a line still connected; yes it does happen!
Overall marina design has progressed in many ways over the past 50 years and today’s quality floating platforms provide welcome harbours for vessels. Add to this the social atmosphere that attracts people and marinas are a valuable part of the urban landscape.
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.