New uses for Marinamate trolleys

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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
Overall dimensions

  • 979mm Long
  • 690mm Wide
  • 530mm High
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Marine13 Conference success in Sydney

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Last week Superior sponsored and attended the Marine13 conference in Sydney with more than 450 delegates. The group comprised marinas, boating industry businesses and boating safety professionals. With an innovative format there were multiple streams running for each area after the initial plenary sessions, which meant there was something for everyone. In fact it was often difficult to chose what to attend as simultaneous sessions meant you missed some great speakers. For this reason the presentations have been placed online at marine13.com

Superior had its commercial team there as usual and it is always fun to catch up with old friends in the industry. The MIA Marina Awards were a highlight with winners list impressive. Our clients at Royal Prince Alfred YC received their Gold Anchor flag and in general it was a celebration of all that is good in the industry. It seemed an upbeat crowd with more interest in capital projects than recent years meaning boat occupancy rates must be improving.

One of the stand out messages was the need for us all to embrace the mix of online sales with traditional brick and mortar operations. John Winning from Appliances Online was an inspirational speaker who showed with commitment to great customer service a winning online strategy can give excellent service and no longer is this channel a cheap option. We will learn from this advice as we offer new improved services over the coming year.

Finally it was the season for awards with the Global Marina Institute (GMI) awarding two honorary Certified Marina Professional certificates; one to John Spragg from Bellingham Marine, and one to yours truly. And while on the topic of “Spraggy” I want to wish my fellow director and sponsor of MIA a hearty congratulations on his Lifetime Achievement Award as well.

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New insights for floating marinas

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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.

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2012 METS Conference in Amsterdam

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From tomorrow, Tuesday the 13th of November, the METS (Marine Equipment Trade Show) conference will be on until Thursday the 15th at the RAI Complex in Amsterdam. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, this event is internationally renowned as the world’s largest exhibition of equipment, material and systems for the international marine leisure industry. It will see over 1,300 exhibitors from over 39 countries and 19,000 professionals from over 96 countries gather to exchange, network and learn from one another during this exceptional event.

It is literally a melting pot for the international marine industry as attendees will be able to make themselves aware of thousands of new and innovative award winning products. A large array of propulsion, navigation, engine management, electronics and hydraulic systems as well as insulation, lighting and safety equipment will readily be on display. More to that it is an excellent platform for innovation and to talk to people behind the product; the people responsible for emerging marine trends.

An expanded SuperYacht Pavilion will be in place as well as the prestigious Dame Awards which recognises the best designs for products at the exhibition and helps raising money for charity. Being a finalist in 2009, Superior will be entering again next year with an exciting new product.

Furthermore, a wide array of workshops and seminars will take place during the three days with topics ranging from hybrid marine propulsion to mitigation of noise problems on boats.

The Superior stand will also have representatives from our China, Middle East and Australian offices answering your questions and assisting you with your enquiries. If you’re visiting METS this year, please come and see us  at booth 828 in Hall 11 in the Australian Pavilion. Preregistration for the event is indeed advisable and can be done here.

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Sustainability through planning, pro-activeness and commitment

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I was having a walk along the spit area last weekend, casually strolling towards the seaway opening when I was struck by the sight of something that I had pushed in the back of my mind and taken for granted over my years in Australia. This of course was the beautiful combination of a variety of Human activities and development happening at this marvelous area, which had left me with such a strong positive impression the very first time I had seen it, after arriving in the country.

The beauty of the natural environment and man made infrastructures, moored boats and people just enjoying themselves having a coffee at Marina Mirage or fishing off the seaway reminded me of exactly why I chose to come and live in Australia and not somewhere else.

I believe nowhere else in the world can you find such an advanced combination of amazing natural environments working in harmony with sustainable development and environmentally friendly business practices. Australia is a beautiful country with awesome natural resources and environments.  I really appreciate the fact that Australia has taken a strong proactive stance in regards to sustainability and has managed to face and rise up to the challenge, something that so many other nations fail to do. No doubt that being green is good and trendy for businesses this days but without dwelling too much on its obvious popularity and economic benefits, I believe it is crucial to remind ourselves of the true reasons why this so important and why we need to keep going this way.

When it comes down to it I believe these reasons are the same as the ones we have when improving ourselves or our work: it is about enhancing the quality of our life and protecting our future and the one for our children. Quite an important thing isn’t it?

I find it extremely fortunate that this concept is at the heart of Australian development and that Australians have the opportunity to exercise this crucial aspect in more ways than one.

Coming from Vanuatu, which is a tropical small country of islands in the Pacific Ocean, I have always valued and enjoyed what nature has to offer. As time passed however, I have come to witness the fact that too many times, human activities and commercial development in the world can take their toll on the environment but also the people, especially when businesses, organizations and governments lose the focus on preserving and improving the quality of life pertaining to the areas they use.

I certainly believe in Vanuatu’s development potential and sincerely hope that it will follow the great example set by Australia in conducting sustainable business practices. It would certainly be a shame if the natural environment which is where the strength of the country lies, was compromised by inconsiderate development and poor environmental management.

Here at Superior, we are all about sustainability as an organization and as people. We all know and respect the fact that we are lucky to live in and benefit from such a wonderful variety of natural environments. This is why the sustainability of our business activities is one of our greatest focus and at the heart of Superior’s philosophy.

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Marina customers

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Blogging has the opportunity to record the present and presently we are cruising the coat on leave. Having experienced the wonders of the reef at Fitzroy and Lady Musgrave, it was time to visit land again as we had a bit of weather. We chose the Gladstone Marina run by the staff at the Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC). It is a very different experience for a marina builder to visit a marina as a customer by water as opposed to when we usually rock up by road. There are just lots more questions for starters.

When the decision is made in planning offshore there are a host of questions such as;
When can we get in there and on what tide?
Do they have any berths available?
What facilities do they have and can we re provision easily?
Will it be a bow or stern in berth on port or starboard side?
How can I contact them when there is no phone reception out here?
Where can I get a bulb to make the repair to the blown nav light?
How long can I wait to wash the salt off everything including me?

There is a lot going on and this was in relatively good conditions. Image with a bit more weather tossed in, how important the safe harbours and marinas are to our marine industry. These facilities are important and in same cases critical to safe passages at sea. Luckily the GPC had the foresight to install the marina as a buffer between port operations and the general public. It has wonderful facilities and beautiful parkland along the foreshore. They have excellent laundry, showers and toilets, fuel, chandlery, tackle shop and a welcome pack for every visiting craft. This pack is in a tote bag with their name on it which is really smart as it will stay on the boat as a reminder to visit again.

Tessa in the office was wonderful to deal with and very friendly. She answered initial contact by email that was easiest form of communication and confirmed berth availability. Not only that but he specified the berth number, color, and port side berthing so the first mate does not always ask “which side for the fenders?”, when you have no idea. These little things mean a lot.

So we get settled in and the local marina network cuts in with Ivan and Joe providing local advice on where to shop and even provide extra tools to fix a busted pipe. People in marinas have the most interesting stories.

We proceeding down the coast for an overnight in Pancake Creek which was wonderful. We walked up to the Bustard Head Lighthouse which is totally maintained by volunteers in better condition than ever! The views are incredible. After this we visited Bundaberg Port Marina which once again has great customer service with forward warning on port or starboard berthing and someone on hand to take your lines and welcome you to the marina. There is a complete folder given to each boat on local activities and items of interest. We were even lucky to meet up with Ian Reynolds on his Riviera 56, Investigator IV on a trip north while they had stopped to refuel at the marina.

As a customer of our customers, I can say we were most impressed. Marina businesses are doing a great job for an integral part of Australia’s social heritage. Come and visit a marina soon and be inspired by the many people you will meet living life’s adventure.

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It’s the Pits

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The Superior team is busy delivering a marina for Portland, Victoria at the moment. This project gave us the opportunity to add another improvement to the product range with a custom designed services pit system. This is no ordinary pit as it was designed and executed by the whole team. The layout provides more internal space to handle larger cables and pipes and the aluminium mould was machined on the in-house CNC to allow smooth edges that limit concrete stresses. The mould also allows for reinforcing bolts to be screwed into the metal inserts in the plastic walls, thus strengthening the entire structure.

The pit lid was designed by Monkeypuzzle and has a tasteful non slip surface with easy access for servicing. We believe this unit has wide appeal for all concrete pit applications and will be made available to wider industry applications through the SuperiorWORK brand.

This whole unit was designed, drawn, CNC Machined, fabricated and rotomoulded within 2 weeks by the dedicated Superior team. This is an admirable effort to replace an outmoded design with new improved outcomes. The new pits use recyclable polyethylene to replace the old Aluminium versions. This initiative reduces our carbon footprint, boosts productivity, improves functionality for customers and proves once again the can do attitude at Superior. I am proud of the whole team the way they make these feats seem easy.

Here is a photo of a few of the crew with the new color matched pits. On the left Wayne Greenwell right Ram Raghuraman.

Regards,

John

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