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November December 2019 Marina World

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DISASTER MANAGEMENT Probability of encountering the storm specified to engineer the resilience of your marina. Source: Jack Cox, Edgewater Associates particularly if improvements are needed such as replacing fixed timber docks with floating docks. Approvals can take years. After approvals, reimbursements are granted after rebuilding, requiring the owner to fund the project in the meantime. Addressing the threat before you build Most threats are predictable based on location and meteorological history. Once conditions are known, owners can choose a ‘threshold’ marina or ask the engineer to build for improved survivability in severe events, like 25-, 50- or 100-year storms. The chart above shows the probability that your marina will see a high-risk storm over its lifetime. For example, if we design for the worst storm expected in 25 years (vertical column) and go across to a 40-year time span (horizontal axis) the chance of encountering a storm at that design specification is 80%. If we design for a 50-year storm the probability of that event is 55%. It can happen in the first year or not at all, but chances are high that over the life of the marina it will see the design-specification storm. What can you do to make your marina more survivable? Craig Funston, vice president of engineering for Bellingham Marine, has been designing marinas for 33 years, from Florida to the Pribilof Islands. “There Coffs Harbour, fully restored and with a new breakwater. The owners salvaged what they could as the insurers determined the marina was not a total loss, but the lease had only four years left to run. are a number of ways to make marinas more robust,” he explains. “We can make the structure larger, add more reinforcing to the concrete, increase the number of through rods, beef up pile hoops, install more and stronger piles and so forth. We can add height to the piles to account for rising sea level and storm surge. The idea is to design a site-specific solution tailored to the potential risks at the site.” Recovering from the storm After a devastating event, operators need to dig out and become operational as soon as possible. Each marina is different, but they all need experienced, knowledgeable people on site quickly to get the process going. They want the adjustor to assess the damage, crews to clear the wreckage, and a marina builder who can help them develop a recovery and rebuilding plan. The event at Coffs Harbour, mentioned at the beginning of this article, is a good example. The marina is located 540km (335.5mi) north of Sydney. The 50-year old breakwater was outdated and deteriorating. A refurbishment project was set to begin in four days when a freak lowpressure system raised sea levels. An extreme high tide combined with high winds caused waves of green water to thunder over the aged breakwater and slam into the marina. Warren Russell is the operations manager at Star Marinas, part of QM Properties. Coffs Harbour is one of three marinas he manages. “The direct impact wrecked a section of our timber boardwalk,” says Russell. “It broke some pile brackets and ripped fingers from walkways. Pontoons got loose and were floating around in the marina.” “We needed an immediate response,” he continues. “We rang a few marina constructors who told us we needed to pull it all out and build a new marina. Our insurance company determined it was not a total loss so we had to rebuild and salvage what we could. With only four years left on our lease, a brand-new marina was not an option.” “Our marina had pontoons from four different suppliers, some no longer in business,” Russell adds. “None were by Bellingham Marine, but Bellingham was the only company that would do the job. Gary Charlwood of Bellingham Marine was the main man. He and his crew knew all the technical issues and were incredibly resourceful. It’s a great help to work with a knowledgeable marina builder that can find a way around every problem.” Robert Wilkes writes about the marina industry from Bellevue, WA, USA. 44 - November/December 2019

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