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November December 2019 Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

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DISASTER MANAGEMENT marinas in areas such as parts of the Mediterranean where such events were unheard of until recently. In Australia, the Marina Industries Association has produced an online extreme weather preparedness course available for the global industry. In one and a half hours, it provides an excellent outline of the issues and the steps that need to be taken so as to be well prepared for a range of extreme weather events. 2. Sea level rise Sea level is affected by influences that range from hours to centuries, from tides to thermal expansion of the oceans with the impact of wind, atmospheric pressure, ocean currents and global oscillations in between. As ocean temperature increases due to global warming there is a small increase in the mean sea level over the globe as a result, predominantly, of thermal expansion and, secondarily, polar ice melt. According to NASA, which tracks the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) by satellite telemetry, the GMSL has increased by 3.3mm in the last year to a total rise of 94mm since 1995. This doesn’t sound much but, on a global scale, it is enormous. As an industry we can, no doubt, adapt to these small increases but the more immediate impacts of wind effect (setup) or in extreme weather (storm surge) need further consideration. Likewise, the atmospheric impact on sea level may become an issue, particularly with extreme low pressure cells when coupled with the storm surge effect. Sea level responds to atmospheric pressure to the extent that a rise or fall of 1hPa over the base of 1,013hPa creates a change in sea level of 1cm. This means that during a low pressure system of 980hPa the sea level could be 33cm higher than predicted by the tide charts and higher again if there is an onshore wind creating set-up. We need to be prepared for greater sea level variations resulting from a wide number of influencing factors. 3. Weaning off carbon We are clearly seeing the automotive industry moving towards electric vehicles. There is a certain inevitability that boats will have to follow the same direction. Electric motors are in fact ideally suited to marine application with their size, power and torque profiles. As with cars, the biggest challenge is battery technology, range and access to, and time of, charging. As automotive moves towards electric engines on a 10-20 year horizon, the economics of fossil fuels will change as economies of scale reduce and government imposes tariffs to support the economics of electric vehicles. Fossil fuels will become more expensive with clear implications for marine engines and boat owners. There are clearly some significant changes coming to vessel designs of all types and sizes in coming years. Likewise, there are going to need to be some significant changes in marina infrastructure to support the electrical demand for the charging of vessels. The obvious solution is increased solar/ PV and battery capacity at marinas to support a charging base load. The batteries would support overnight charging while daily loads are not being drawn. This is the principle behind smart charging of electric vehicles, where the majority of vehicles are charged overnight at off-peak times. In any event, there will need to be a combination of distributed generation (i.e. PV cells at a marina) combined with centralised generation (power stations) to meet future demand. Marinas and the boating industry have been slow to start but the outcome is inevitable. Risk and opportunity The climate is changing and this change is being accelerated by human introduced CO² (and other gases) into the atmosphere. The actual local and regional consequences of that change in the medium term are unclear. What is clear is that we can expect more extremes of weather. How, when and where this will manifest is also not clear. What we can reasonably conclude, however, is that we need to prepare ourselves for a future where our marinas, boats and boating lifestyle are able to adapt to these changes and extremes. Our boaters will need boats www.marinaworld.com - November/December 2019 33

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