Marine industry construction projects are oftentimes quite robust. The building material requirements can be complex and include many technical specifications. Many marine applications have a lot of moving (or stationary) parts. With each application requiring unique technical specifications, finding the right material for each component can lengthen the project installation timeline, cost more in upfront research and time, installation can be more difficult and it just isn’t ideal for the ever-changing marine industry.
Emerging trends in the marine industry have changed the way companies are looking at building materials for marine projects. These trends include better preparing for weather disasters and risk management, accommodating larger vessels, which means deepening harbors and increasing marinas and green building. The marine industry is full-steam ahead with forward-direction, and one stop along the way that many companies are seeing in marine projects is risk management and disaster preparedness. This is more important than ever before and is most effective when factored into the early stages of design before the construction even begins. Hurricanes and potential weather disasters can take quite a toll on marine projects, and one way to avoid a possible disaster is to use a durable building material that won’t get damaged, destroyed or break down in extreme weather conditions.
Another marine industry trend that affects project building materials decisions is the notion that “bigger is better”. Many harbors and marinas are expanding and deepening to allow larger boats and vessels to port, which increases the amount of cargo that can be transported at one time. The challenge with this trend is that larger vessels mean heavier impact. For fendering systems and bumper protection, the material must be able to withstand heavy impact and absorb energy from hard collisions.
A third trend that has affected the marine industry in regards to building materials is green construction and environmentally-friendly building materials. Many traditional materials like wood, metal and concrete can be harmful to marine life when submerged in water due to chemically-treated lumber that leaches into the water and rust and corrosion from metals. Humans can also be affected when these chemicals are exposed to the water table.
When concrete is exposed to seawater over time, it has a higher tendency to break down due to chemicals found in this water like magnesium, calcium and potassium. This can affect the tensile and compressive strength properties of the concrete more quickly, resulting in repair and replacement. Green construction also includes using less natural resources to help preserve our environment. Not only does traditional wood cut down a natural resource, but it also must be replaced more often due to rotting and degrading in marine environments.
With new trends and a continuously growing industry, marine projects must be built to last. Structural recycled plastic lumber is a great alternative building material to wood, metal and concrete. Not only does it replace traditional wood, but it also is a low-maintenance and easy-to-install material because it cuts, drills and fastens like traditional wood.
Structural Recycled Plastic Lumber Benefits in the Marine Environment
Bedford Technology structural recycled plastic lumber is perfect for marine applications because of the technical properties and performance characteristics of the building material. It is able to withstand even the worst from Mother Nature and will outlast any tough weather condition (snow, rain, extreme heat and cold). It is resistant to marine borers, mold and fungus and is truly a low-maintenance material because it will not need to be replaced due to damage or heavy wear-and-tear.
Another great benefit of using structural recycled plastic lumber by Bedford Technology is that it is an environmentally-friendly material. Sourced from post-consumer and post-industrial recycled plastic like milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles, manufacturing this heavy-duty material helps keep millions of pounds of plastic out of the landfill each year. The material is also safe for marine life because it isn’t treated with chemicals and doesn’t leach any into the water. It is resistant to marine borers, mold and fungus, so when submerged in water, it will not rot or decay.
Bedford Technology Complete Solutions
Bedford Technology offers complete building material solutions for marine applications. Each application oftentimes contains many components, and Bedford Technology has the right product for each component. Use structural recycled HDPE plastic lumber for all components and get your complete solution from one manufacturer. The following applications are complex and require numerous technical specifications.
Fender systems include piles and waler beams that help guide boats and other vessels. They are generally constructed near wharves and ferry slips. These systems act as a buffer to absorb and dissipate energy from impact of the vessel, and prevent the vessel from going underneath the pier.
Case Study: SR-415 Bridge Fender System
Pier Protection System
Pier protection systems include fender piles, wales and dolphins. This system helps guide boats and vessels into a channel away from the bridge supports. Generally located in high-impact zones, the fender system helps protect the bridge components from boat and barge contact, and the dolphins can also serve as mooring points. They are also used to hold navigational aids and advertisements.
Case Study: King County South Park Bridge
Marina substructure includes waler beams, joists, stringer beams, posts, support beams, decking and dock and pier substructure. This provides support for top boards, decking and boardwalks and can be found below or above ground level. Substructure also helps protect top boards from direct exposure to high moisture levels.
Case Study: Assabet River Trail
Shoreline Maintenance Solution
This solution includes groynes, retaining walls and wave fences (attenuation). The groynes act as barriers to protect the shoreline from erosion and drifting. Retaining walls also protect against erosion and are commonly placed where there are changes in elevation. The wave fences help regulate the energy produced by waves to dissipate the impact of lessening the wave impact.
So, which product is right for your marine project?
Bedford Technology Products
FiberForce® – FiberForce® is an HDPE plastic lumber composite that has added fiberglass strand to increase strength and rigidity. This product is best suited for projects like dock and deck boards, fender system walkways, joist and stringer beams and boardwalks. It acts as a great alternative to traditional wood in applications where structural support or load bearing is required.
BarForce® – BarForce® is a commercial-grade building material that is reinforced with fiberglass polymer rebar. It offers residual strength, resilience and compressive strength after the impact has occurred, and allows for longer spans because of the extra reinforcement with the rebar. BarForce® is best-suited for marine applications like waler beams, retaining walls, dock and boardwalk substructure components.
SeaPile® and SeaTimber® – SeaPile® and SeaTimber® are marine-specific piles and timbers that are fortified with fiberglass polymer rebar and manufactured using our advanced multiple extrusion manufacturing process. This fortification allows the material to withstand heavy impacts by absorbing the energy through recoverable deflection, and makes it best-suited for heavy-duty marine applications like piles, wave attenuation, dolphins, fender systems and bridge pier protection systems.
Partner with Bedford Technology today to find your complete marine application solution that is built to last!
Bedford Technology has the right solution for you. Contact us today to get more information. We are here to answer any and all questions you may have.