by Anna Townshend
Used with permission from Marina Dock Age magazine

Over the last five years, new technologies and new structures have highlighted the renovations at Anglers Avenue Marine Center (AAMC) in Dania Beach, Fla. While the improvements clearly make the marina and service center a better functioning and more up-to-date facility, the main bottom line behind all the decisions was creating a cleaner environment.

The company Web site states: “Every decision to improve the marina involves an examination of a GREEN solution. Our mission is to work in harmony with the environment.”

The marina needed a renovation, and owner Dan Longman, who bought the facility in November 2006, and Mark Gelders, general manager, considered the environment every step of the way.

Hurricane storage
After rebuilding the travel lift well and purchasing a 30-ton lift, the renovations began with storm protection. AAMC installed an anchoring system to safely store about 150 boats during dangerous storms.

On the 10-acre yard, AAMC has about three, concreted upland acres that it uses for hurricane storage. To secure boats, the marina bore holes and fastened loops of chain into the concrete. There, the marina attaches straps to four points on each boat and ties them down. “They don’t wiggle or shake on jack stands,” said Gelders.

The marina does have a Hurricane Club, in which customers pay ahead of time for a storage space. If there’s no hurricane, the marina puts customer deposits toward service work in the following season. Without any storms the last few years, the marina has less than five boats signed up for the program now, but, “If we have a hurricane, we’ll be full,” Gelders said.

Solar Power at Anglers Avenue Marine Center

This open-canopy work area supports 53kW worth of solar panels, which more than power the marina, and the new shaded area commands a premium rental price.

Solar power
In 2009, AAMC began the real work of making the marina greener. AAMC installed a 53kW solar array that produces enough electricity to power the marina and more. To provide the square footage needed to accommodate photovoltaic solar panels, it built a 60-foot by 100-foot canopy over an open-air area where the marina stored boats.

The solar system produces industrial strength power, 480-volt, three-phase power. “That was the best for the power company,” said Gelders. “We make more than enough power in daylight hours, and the rest goes back into the power grid.”

The power company calls it net metering, Gelders said. A new digital, bi-directional meter runs backwards when the marina is producing more power than it’s using. Currently, the system credits the marina each quarter, but Gelders is sure at some point in the future, “We’ll be getting a check,” he said. Florida is a little behind the ball, compared to some other states, with regard to renewable energy credits, but it is currently being addressed in the state legislature. “Looks like down the road, we’ll be getting actually paid back in cash, not just credit,” Gelders said.
Even without a reimbursement check, the marina is obviously saving in electrical bills, on average about $3,800 per month. The solar canopy also provides additional storage and service revenue. Previous to the installation of the solar array, the marina charged approximately $600 to rent the open-air space. With the canopy, the average rental price jumped to $1,250. In the wet, hot Florida summers, the covered work bays provide protection from weather that may have stopped customers from servicing their vessels. “We rent that space to a lot of commercial guys on a specific schedule, charter boats, too,” Gelders said.

The original inverter, which changes the solar energy into kilowatts, has a total capacity of 75 kW. Currently, AAMC is building a new 60-foot by
200-foot office building, where it plans to install another 25 kW solar array, loading the inverter to 100 percent capacity. At 75 kW total production, Gelders sees big profits down the road. “Once you’re a half mega-watt producer, your revenue will grow,” he said.
Solar projects also come with other financial benefits. AAMC received a tax credit from the federal government and one from the state called the Florida Solar Grant. The solar contractor took care of the work to make that happen, but Gelders noted that the money comes in the form of a reimbursement after completion, so the project must have the money upfront.

Clean water
Boat bottoms can be a big source of pollution. Powerwashing, sanding and painting bottoms can produce toxic waste. To protect the environment from the harmful substances on boats, AAMC installed a WaterMaze bottom wash system. “It’s very unique in this area,” Gelders said.

Wet boats go by travel lift to an upland location, raised above the parking lot, where a tapered wash pad collects everything produced from powerwashing, including bottom paint. The system captures the water and debris in a well underneath, where a charcoal filter removes particulates (organics, oils, paints, etc.). The water is then treated for pH balance and goes back into the wash system. The system recycles virtually 100 percent of the water, Gelders said. It puts barnacles into a burlap bag for normal disposal. Paints and oils and other contaminants get trapped in reservoirs in the system, and Crystal Clean, a hazardous waste disposal company, collects the waste every month or more often, if requested.

Gelders said the washwater system is pretty much self-maintained. The marina uses acid in the tank for adding pH and uses a drinking water treatment chemical to stabilize the water once the correct pH is set. The manufacturer does clean the system once a year. “Otherwise, the system maintains itself,” Gelders said.

For bottom painting, the marina has a 20-foot by 40-foot plastic tarp, and for bottom sanding, it uses a Vestool sander, a portable vacuum sanding system that captures any dust. The full-service marina is also a do-it-yourself shop, and anyone doing sanding work, must rent this sander.

New Composite Pilings at Anglers Avenue Marine Center in Ft Lauderdale, FL

Anglers Avenue Marine Center looked to green solutions in all of its renovations. For this dock renovation, the marina chose hollow, composite pilings from Pearson Pilings, which are stronger than wood for hurricane protection.

AAMC began the long and involved process of replacing its dock system last year. The marina is currently about one-third of the way into dock reconstruction, which includes all new docks, pilings and electrical, water and fire systems. It began in a 30-slip section with many old creosote pilings, which leach harmful chemicals into the water.

Many of the other pilings were also rotten and worm eaten. “They looked fine above the water,” Longman said. The marina chose a hollow composite piling from Pearson Pilings.

“I got the fiberglass primarily because of boring worms. They ate our other wood ones so badly,” Gelders said. He also said his new pilings are completely nontoxic and fives times stronger than wood for hurricane protection.

AAMC also did the construction in a modular fashion and did all its measuring and planning with laser beams. This allowed the marina to lie out exact dimensions up to 1,000 feet. Because each slip is precisely the same as the next, the marina can install vertical lifts, which is sell as a premium upgrade, on any slip.

“When customers rent that slip with a lift, the nice thing about it is they get a remote. They can pull right up to the slip, parking is adjacent to the slip, hit the remote, and the boat drops down,” said Longman.


In addition to finishing the marina’s docks, AAMC is working toward Clean Marina certification. “We’re getting all the documents in order,” said Gelders. Also, he said the marina needs to install a pumpout system before it can qualify. The marina has applied for CVA grant money to fund some of the pumpout system, which will be open to the public. The vacuum system will also have some in-slip pumpouts for liveaboards at the marina.The modular process for constructing the docks is not the only advantage of the AAMC construction process. For big bottom line savings, the marina built its own barge and is doing all the work in-house. Gelders approximates that by doing the work themselves, the marina saved somewhere between one-third and half of what a contracted job would have cost. “And we’re doing it at our own cash flow pace. That’s huge,” he said.