Boating Industry

February 2016

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Page 35 of 43 36 | Boating Industry | February 2016 MARKET FOCUS SECTION { MARINA DESIGN } BY BRIANNA LIESTMAN If you're going to build something, it should be built to last. This has always been the approach for companies that design marinas. Marina development options that are long lasting with lower maintenance and sensitivity to the environment continue to drive innova- tion in the segment, which is of particular importance as recent storms like Hurricane Sandy have left a lasting impact. Marina owners are "looking for ele- ments to help the marina survive," said Roxie Comstock, manager of business en- hancement at Bellingham Marine. "It's re- ally about decisions that are being made in the design and engineering of [the marina] more than it is about a specific product that's being developed." Bellingham has searched for corrosive- free, low-maintenance components that the company could add into its dock system to help increase the longevity of the structure. What the company came up with was the fiber-reinforced pultrusion (FRP) thru-rod, which was designed to be impervious to corrosion, meet the strictest environmental regulations and require less maintenance over a long lifespan. "One of the weak points in any dock system with metal components is the met- al's vulnerability to corrosion. Corrosion can reduce a component's life space and compromise its performance. An alterna- tive material that meets or exceeds metal's physical properties and is impervious to corrosion is a tremendous breakthrough," said Comstock. "The FRP thru-rods are never going to corrode. Their life is, at this point, infinite in terms of how long they'll be able to hold up in a corrosive environment." In 2016, the rod will be a standard op- tion offered on all Unifloat system docks. Bellingham will also be introducing an FRP waler option in the near future. "Traditionally what happens is the Strength and survival Today's marinas built for longevity, storm resistance timber walers expand and contract with changes in the environment, and so the nut can loosen [and] there's periodic main- tenance of going around the marina and tightening the nuts. With the new FRP thru-rod system, theoretically that need should go away," said Comstock. "It meets that dual need in the industry for something that is lower maintenance as well as some- thing that has a longer life." The company said that if the FRP thru-rod and waler system perform as an- ticipated, the breakthrough could represent one of the most important advancements in dock technology in the past 50 years. BELLINGHAM MARINE'S FRP THRU-RODS ARE THE RESULTS OF OVER SEVEN YEARS OF RE- SEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.

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