• NauticExpo e-Magazine - #15 - Smart Marinas - NauticExpo e-Magazine

    Smart Marinas

    Did you know that the average boat in a marina leaves the dock only three days per year? It’s a fact. Boats are becoming more like vacation homes. In this context, marinas have to adapt to offer almost the same services as holiday resorts. The SmartMarina concept facilitates access to marina services and booking available berths through wireless networks and the Internet of Things. Time to park it!

    In this issue, you will also read about the Yara Birkeland project, the world’s first all-electric autonomous ship. And don’t forget to read our stories about the Innovation Award winners at last month’s IBEX conference in Tampa, Florida.

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    We’re betting that tomorrow’s marinas and floating houses will need IoT.
    Smart Marina helps find available berths through wireless networks (Credit: nazar_ab)


    With more and more boats permanently moored in marinas, space for visiting vessels can be hard to find. The Smart Marina concept facilitates access to marina services and booking available berths through wireless networks and the Internet of Things.   The average boat in a marina leaves the dock only three days per...

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    Better puncture-resistance, non-slip surfaces and UV protection are now virtually standard.
    Modular floating docks made simple (Courtesy of Dock Blocks)


    From helicopter landing pads to a floating film set, customers are finding new ways to use dock modules, as modern designs and connection systems for the individual units provide increasing flexibility. NauticExpo e-magazine spoke with industry expert John Krogman to find out more.


    Marketing & international sales director of US-based manufacturer Connect-A-Dock, Krogman’s most unusual project was a floating set for the 2016 Clint Eastwood film Sully: Miracle on the Hudson. The film tells the story of US Airways pilot Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, who safely landed his disabled airliner on the Hudson River in 2009 with no fatalities.

    Innovation in the technology used to produce, connect and strengthen modules allows for bigger sizes—those used for the film set measured four by eight feet (1.2 x 2.4 m). It also makes possible the addition of an increasing array of attachments and accessories. Across the industry, better puncture-resistance, non-slip surfaces and UV protection are now virtually standard, Krogman explained.


    Set for the film "Sully Miracle on the Hudson" (Courtesy of Connect-A-Dock)

    Set for the film “Sully: Miracle on the Hudson” (Courtesy of Connect-A-Dock)

    “We have also developed a versatile system that allows our rotationally-molded polyethylene modules to be configured end-to-end or side-to-side in many different configurations,” he said. “And it takes just five minutes to attach a module to its neighbor.”

    Dock’s Stability

    Dock modules today have a huge variety of uses—floating platforms for dredging, temporary venues for water sports events and helicopter landing pads, in addition to marina construction. Canada-based CanDock has taken the latter to a new level, with its patented service channel technology that allows customers to insert electric cables and pipes through the modules.

    Modular docks can also be used as helicopter landing pads (Courtesy of)

    Modular docks can also be used as helicopter landing pads (Courtesy of Matrax)

    Mooring vessels remains the most common use for modular docks. But are there limitations to securing larger craft? “It depends on the pull-out strength of your cleats and of the dock sections themselves,” Krogman said. “It also depends on anchoring methods, but we have 40- to 60-ft [12-18 m] vessels moored to our system.”

    “Rowing clubs appreciate the lower freeboard and the dock’s stability.”

    Larger craft require docks with a freeboard of 17 inches (43.2 cm). For smaller craft, there are modules with eight inches (20.3 cm) of freeboard.

    “Rowing clubs and coaches appreciate the lower freeboard and the dock’s stability, which creates a safe platform for entering and exiting their shells,” Krogman noted. Safety is also a feature of the newly developed personal kayak launches that can be attached to docks, along with drive-on modular units for jet skis and other personal watercraft.


    Modular dock for kayaks (Courtesy of At Ease Dock & Lift)

    Modular dock for kayaks (Courtesy of At Ease Dock & Lift)

    Recycled Materials

    There is an industry trend toward units that are not just recyclable, but made from recycled materials, Krogman added. “Most docks are made from virgin polyethylene, but there are materials coming out that will help repel various forms of pests that can eat through plastic docks. Not much readily available yet, but hopefully coming soon.”

    Global dock module player T Dock International has serious environment-friendly credentials: “Our cubes are made from recycled materials and are 100% recyclable,” a spokesman stated. The company’s Tide Manager system allows docks to float up and down with changing water level. It also introduced an open sea version. The spokesman stated: “We have tested in waves as high as three meters and the success rate has been very good.”

    Floating bridge (Courtesy of TDock)

    Read more about Floating docks on NauticExpo website. 

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    Yara Birkeland will be 100% electric. There will be no traditional engines.
    The Yara Birkeland project (Courtesy of Yara)

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    A partnership between Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara International and marine technology leader Kongsberg Maritime is developing the container feeder vessel Yara Birkeland, the world’s first autonomous, zero-emissions battery-powered container ship.   Yara Birkeland’s batteries will be charged with clean Norwegian...

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    Michael Halpern

    Michael Halpern is a US-born and bred writer with experience in radio. He has lived in southern France for 15 years. Michael is the copy editor of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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    Daniel Allen

    Daniel Allen is a writer and a photographer. His work has featured in numerous publications, including CNN, BBC, The National Geographic Traveller.

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    Øyvind Bordal

    Øyvind Bordal is a norwegian writer and sailor, based in Denmark and Caribbean.


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    Kevin Green

    Kevin Green is a Sydney-based yachting journalist who contributes to international boating publications.


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    Celia Sampol

    Celia Sampol is a journalist with 13 years of experience in Paris, Brussels and Washington. She’s now the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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    Tony Slinn

    Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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