|The heart of the Marina Ventures
system and the reason for its amazing durability is the glue-laminated
beam and our method of connection. The docks are connected and fastened
using either 1" or 5/8" through bolts that bolt through
the 5"deck and through the structural crossties, creating a
monolithic system without the use of hinges, typically the weakest
link in a floating dock system.
The flotation units are polyethylene pontoons
filled with solid blocks of expanded polystyrene foam. The pontoons
are then lag bolted to the under side of the deck.
Working closely with the owner, critical
environmental information such as the site description, bottom
soil conditions, water depth of the proposed marina basin, typical
wind and wave action, and hundred-year storm records, is collected.
This data, in addition to market opportunities and land-use, are
evaluated to determine the scope and feasibility of the marina
A preliminary plan of the proposed marina
showing the recommended configuration and size and mix of slips
is then prepared. Based on this preliminary layout, the land/water
interface can be strengthened and technical and economic feasibility
After consultation with the owner and interested
governmental planners, a marina design plan is prepared. This
plan provides the detail required to apply for the governmental
permits and prepare the initial financial package.
Following owner approval of the marina
design and execution of contract, engineering structural calculations
are performed and shop drawings completed. Materials and component
take-offs are then made and purchase orders prepared - all components
are manufactured by suppliers and vendors using Marina Ventures-owned
dies, molds and exclusive processes. In addition to stringent
specifications in the choice and selection of a wood species,
Marina Ventures employs independent inspectors to oversee the
timber selection, lamination and finishing processes to ensure
that our specifications have been met.
Once all permits have been obtained, purchase
orders for all materials are finalized and shipping schedules
to the marina site are coordinated.
Marina Ventures provides on-site engineering,
consulting and assembly supervision. This support ensures that
all preassembly, assembly and anchoring is performed in accordance
with Marina Ventures' design and material specifications. Preventive
maintenance instruction is also provided during this phase.
SYSTEM DESIGN & SURVIVABILITY
For more than two decades, the laminated-wood
floating pier system has provided a unique combination of structural
strength, beauty and durability in marinas around the world.
The survivability of the system under extreme
environmental conditions is second to none. Approximately 600
vessels were moored at our South Shore Harbor Marina project (located
south of Houston) when hurricane Alicia struck in 1983. The laminated-wood
floating system survived 125-mph winds and a ten-foot storm surge
with no damage or loss of craft.
During hurricane Gloria's rampage along
the eastern seaboard in 1985, five of our floating marinas were
put to the test. With over 100-mph winds and six-foot seas, Boston
Harbor's Shipyard Quarters Marina, with over 300 vessels moored
in place, was the hardest hit of the five marinas exposed to the
storm. Despite this, only a single finger pier in the marina sustained
damage when a mooring line failed, allowing a vessel to over-top
the finger pier. Again, no vessels were lost and the remaining
marinas sustained no damage.
Despite our excellent track record of survivability,
and in recognition of boater safety and comfort, Marina Ventures
does not advocate developing marinas in areas exposed to extreme
adverse environmental conditions.
Nevertheless, we do find it interesting
that a considerable sum of money is spent annually on the construction
of substantial breakwaters or wave attenuators specifically designed
to protect floating pier systems which are inferior in design
to the laminated-plank floating system. Some manufacturers, such
as those building floating concrete piers, will not warrant their
product in a wave environment greater than 12 inches. Many others
will not warrant their systems when they are subjected to waves
over 18 inches.
The Marina Ventures laminated-plank (MVL-Glue
lam) system, however, is specifically designed to provide a stable
and safe environment for properly moored vessels in hurricane-force
Our philosophy is to design for the 100-year
Designing a system to survive means proper
attention to the structural integrity of the system and careful
planning of the marina layout. Single-loaded slips (one boat between
two fingers) are a key factor in reducing vessel damage and increasing
vessel survivability. Recognizing this, insurance underwriters
have often extended boats discounts of up to 15-percent if their
boat is moored in a single-loaded glue-laminated wood floating
pier system. This single-loaded, laminated-wood floating pier
system was designed, and has survived,80+ MPH winds and six-foot
seas without damage.
In addition to individual boat owners,
marina operators also benefit from the proven survivability of
the MVL-Glue lam system. Insurance rates have been slashed by
as much as 60 percent of the rates charged to marinas using other
These reduced rates are also in recognition
of the flame-retardant characteristics of a laminated-wood pier.
Since the deck is solid, air cannot circulate from under the pier,
as would occur in a standard 2 x 6 decking system. If a fuel spill
is ignited, it will burn only until the fuel is exhausted. Without
out oxygen, the deck will not support combustion. Any surface
charring can be sanded off and re-sealed to restore the pier to
its prior condition.
The MVL-Glue lam design is the present
state-of-the-art in laminated-beam floating marina systems. Comparing
this system with earlier systems provides a perspective of the
progress that has taken place since the earlier laminated-beam
systems were first developed.
Laminated-beam floating docks have been
in existence in one form or another for over 60 years. The basic
concept of the design is to use the laminated beam as both the
primary structural element and as the deck of the system. This
creates a system that is extremely rigid in the horizontal plane,
with tremendous strength and resistance to lateral vessel impact
and wave and wind loads. At the same time, the laminated-wood
beams will flex in the vertical dimension with the wave action
of the water. This allows the piers to ride over large waves without
experiencing material fatigue or damage resulting from concentrated
stress. The system, therefore, can be safely anchored with a minimum
number of piles to withstand hurricane wind and wave forces without
An important aspect of the utilization
of laminated beams is the correct design of all timber and bolt
connections. In each project, computer-aided structural analysis
is performed for every aspect of the marina design to determine
proper bolt patterns and structural connections that will achieve
maximum product strength and life expectancy.
In older recreational marina designs, laminated
beams with a thickness of three inches were generally used. There
were complaints about these three-inch systems that they lacked
rotational stability that caused boaters to feel uncomfortable
when walking on or standing near the end of the finger. More recently,
five-inch installations have been standard. We now recommend the
three-inch beams be used only for finger piers less than 30 feet
in length. For finger piers 30 feet and above, a five-inch system
is recommended. Since the torsional resistance of the typical
beam increases with the cube of the beams thickness, going from
three-inch to five-inch represents in increase in torsional resistance
by a factor of almost 5 to 1. This means that a five-inch beam has
nearly five times the torsional stability of a three-inch beam.
This is why a five-inch pier system provides a very stable and
comfortable walking surface, even at the end of a 100-foot finger
After much experimentation, we have found
the most effective flotation unit to be a completely enclosed, rotationally molded
polyethylene pontoon with an average design wall thickness of
0.15 inches, filled with one pound density expanded polystyrene.
The pontoons are attached to the bottom of the laminated beams
using lag bolts.
The flotation product has been improved
to provide more flexibility in the design for both live and dead
loads. Present design provides for a standard live load of 20
pounds per square foot with a submergence not to exceed ten inches.
If circumstances warrant, a live load capacity of 50 pounds per
square foot with a 12 inch submergence can be achieved. The pontoons
are sized to extend across the full width of the finger pier to
provide increased rotational stability.
OTHER SYSTEM COMPONENTS
Essentially every component of the Marina
Ventures system reflects a new design innovation or improvement
from earlier installations. These innovations include:
Our dock fender currently utilizes heavier
vinyl, infused with ultra-violet and mold inhibitors. This newly
designed fender is mounted on the side of the beam, rather than
lapping over the top edge, allowing the deck to drain freely and
eliminate puddling and entrapment of dirt. The fender is attached
to the beam using stainless steel staples, which provide greater
holding power than the aluminum nails previously used.
Marina Ventures uses a custom-designed
cleat that is made of an aluminum-magnesium alloy (Al-mag). It
is designed with a wide base to prevent over-turning under severe
loads. Each cleat is attached to the plank using 5/8 inch diameter
6061T6 aluminum through bolts and aluminum-magnesium backing plates
UTILITY CHANNEL COVERS
New utility covers are fabricated
utilizing South American hardwoods and are supported by an anodized
aluminum Z-channel on either side. The Z-channels are attached
to the hardwood with stainless steel screws. The assembly overlaps
the beam on either side to provide a uniform, crisp edge. Constructed
in eight-foot sections, the covers are easily removed for access
to both electric and water components located in the utility channel.