Marina Construction Cost

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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.


Seychelles calling

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Last week I had the pleasure of visiting one of our long term customers in the Seychelles, Eden Island Development Company. Seychelles is an island nation that lies a four hour flight south of Dubai and three hours from Johannesburg in the Indian Ocean. Eden Island is a beautiful complex five minutes from the airport and downtown Victoria on Mahe island. There are 500 villas and maisons in the final 50 Ha developed island which is connected to Mahe by a bridge. Each dwelling has a marina berth and we have worked closely with The Eden team and their project managers IOPM for over five years.

The team has been very thorough to ensure great architectural themes flow through the project but are still suitable for daily use. The design cues are based on traditional Seychellois buildings with steep rooflines and overhanging verandas to cope with the torrential tropical rains. The construction is of a high standard with solid concrete buildings and extensive use of traditional timber.

When it came to the berths the architectural team were looking for a subtle low profile system that continued the timber theme. The Superior Capri system fitted the requirements with the same timber decking as the verandas and a structural support system from a series of galvanised steel universal beams off the revetment walls. All of the floating structures are prefabricated from AutoCAD drawings with adjustable pile brackets. This makes on site connections a breeze and has allowed the teams in three different countries to stay on top of the project and deliver a simple solution.

On the economic front it has been fascinating to watch the nation develop so rapidly in the past five years we have been visiting. From a base of about four flights per week, there are now daily flights from three airlines into Africa and the Middle East. Eden Island itself boasts an improvement to the nation of over 7% GDP. Other new developments are springing up as well and tourism is an important growing industry. This was very evident on Friday while attending the awards at La Plage restaurant for the National Culinary Competition, with three winning chefs original dishes served in seaside splendour. Under the watchful eye of a 2 star Michelin chef, the local chefs produced an amazing original banquet that shows the Seychelles has a bright future with originality for those looking to escape for a unique experience.


Chinese partners visit Superior HQ

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It has been a pleasure in the last week to host our joint venture partners from Superior Jetties China on the Gold Coast and give them a real insight into our operations. We especially want to thank the guys for giving up their Chinese New Year time with their families.

Superior Jetties China’s Peter Xu and Wang Feng are here to familiarise themselves with our manufacturing techniques spending time with our team learning our processes and systems and various aspects of production. Peter is the director of our China JV and Wang is operations manager.

Superior Jetties China trades as “Shen Bo Jin” in China and recently completed the NanChang Marina in Jaingxi Province. The Chinese have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline which include the installation of the concrete Elite pontoon and Capri range of Superior products.  Our concrete marina systems bring a new standard of flotation to the market with its low maintenance ideally suited to the region.


SuperiorWORK brand adds a Steel Division

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Over recent years the Superior group has added a commercial division to service the flotation needs of general industry and the resource sector in particular. The SuperiorWORK brand was born and a range of tough, rugged innovative products has followed. In addition to the range of pump pontoons, pipe floats, floating walkways and industrial gangways, the company now has added a general steel fabrication business.

This need has arisen over time as customers have used the aluminium fabrication service but increasingly asked for a heavier duty product in quality steel design and fabrication. With recent contracts for the Port of Gladstone requiring heavy steel pontoons, the company has opened a specialist steel service at their site at 7 Jade Drive in Molindinar. The work is highly specialised with a design team experienced in structural steel design, and a team of boilermakers with quality assured welding expertise. The team has produced great results with a quality assured (QA) system.

The need for QA is now a basic requirement for mining and industrial customers. This means that the procedures that we have worked on for years must now be documented and audited by a third party, in our case SAI Global. This increased level of assurance is a positive outcome for all parties as our people have proven performance and our customers have trust in the brand.

As in all of our manufacturing operations the Superior branded products are produced however we also contract fabricate for others. We welcome your enquiries to supply your structural steel fabrication needs in the near future.


Gold Coast International Marine Expo

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This Friday 2nd of November, the second annual Gold Coast Marine Expo kicks off at the Gold Coast City Marina, Coomera. The three day event wraps up on Sunday and is held at Australia’s largest boat manufacturing plants and shipyard facility.

Dubbed “The Working Boat Show”, the Expo’s main focus is to provide a non-for-profit event to the greater community, organised by the industry for the industry. The show is a little different than most boat shows. Sure you can still see some spectacular vessels as it has adopted an international reputation with brands from all aver the world exhibiting, however it also educates the public about many different facets of the boating industry.

A lot of planning by the Leigh-Smith Team has gone into this event and it’s guaranteed to e bigger and better than last year. RAAF Roulettes will be performing daily, on-water exhibitions and more than 200 marine brands will be on display. Exciting demonstrations such as the Yamaha Supertank Travelling Fishing Show (giving you an insight of the underwater world seen throughout the eyes of a fish) and how to provide maintenance for your vessel’s steering systems workshops are just two examples of the diverse activities that will delight the whole family during this exceptional event. A family focused Saturday night Club Marine Shipyard party will be hosted as well to further cater for grown ups and small ones.

Superior will be supporting the Show this year and we will be installing about 40 metres of our Capri pontoon system for additional on-water exhibitor space. Additionally, we have planned an exciting array of land and water displays with Jet Ski docks, pontoons, SUP’s and Sunstream Boat Lifts. This guarantees to be entertaining, as there will be regular demonstrations of our products all day long. Preparations are well on the way, as we want to repeat the success of last year and offer visitors an exceptional experience.

So come down and say hi to the Superior Team; it’s free parking and entry all three days and the show is open 9am-5pm daily. We look forward to another great Expo and we’re sure you and the family will have a great day out.


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.



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