Ko Olina marina built to last
Last week I wrote about Governor Lingle's release of $1.65 million for the replacement of the Ala Wai harbor's "F" Dock and the reader response was interesting.
"That's wonderful," one boater told me. "But if the Waikiki Yacht Club managed to replace its whole 154-slip marina for the same amount, isn't that a lot of money to spend on just 70 slips?"
He had a point of course, but then the WYC relied on quite a few volunteer planners and consultants, whereas the state must always pay for the services of everyone connected with its projects.
And too, if the state spends its money wisely -- that is, on durable dock materials and first-class design features -- it just might end up with a dock system that will last for decades.
In a recent issue of Boat & Motor Dealer magazine, there was an article on the marina of the future that predicted half-century, zero maintenance facilities.
"The new buzzword in marina development is the 50-year marina," writer Robert Wilkes said. "(And) the secret to a low-maintenance, long-lasting marina is in the materials."
Drawing on the wisdom of Craig Funston, "who has been engineering marinas for more than 19 years," Wilkes pointed out that concrete floats and pre-stressed concrete pilings would be the components of choice for the foreseeable future.
That's because they are extremely storm-resistant and very durable, particularly in sunny, hot, wet, and salty conditions that are susceptible to corrosion, like Hawaii's.
As for the main structural dock members that surround the concrete floats and provide their stability, Funston predicted that pressure-treated wood would continue to be the best material due to its strength, flexibility, and shock-absorbing abilities.
Also mentioned in the article was that modern marinas could even survive most hurricanes, provided the docks' pilings are tall enough to keep the docks from riding over their tops during extreme storm surges.
The general boat-buyers' trend toward larger boats must be addressed in modern dock design as well, the article read.
"We see walkway and finger widths getting larger in the future to match the scale of these boats," noted a Florida marina CEO.
So where might our state marina planners look for a prime example of such docks of the future? Interestingly, the article highlights one such facility very close to home: Ko Olina Marina.
And while Ko Olina is primarily mentioned in the context of architectural aesthetics, its facilities -- constructed by Bellingham Marine -- closely match the criteria for longevity set forth by Funston.
I understand the new "F" Dock for the Ala Wai harbor will be designed as the model for future marina renovations. Maybe the state will save some time and money by writing the specs for Bellingham Marine.