Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina is Better Than Ever After Hurricane Ian

After being nearly destroyed when Hurricane Ian made landfall in September 2022, Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, is open for the 2024 boating season. The Category 5 hurricane caused widespread destruction to countless businesses, residences and communities in western Florida, making 2023 a year of rebuilding. Faced with an abundance of necessary repairs, Pink Shell owner Boykin Management Co. completed its initial hotel remediation, then immediately called up Golden Marine Systems to rebuild the marina.

Evaluating the Damage
For days following the storm, search and rescue efforts took the place of ordinary operations for most southern Florida businesses. At Pink Shell resort, Ian’s 19-foot storm surge pummeled the first and second floors but failed to compromise the structural integrity of the iconic hotel. In no time, Pink Shell opened its doors to provide accommodation for relief workers, contractors and some displaced residents. On the mainland, Golden Marine Systems’ Fort Myers facility sustained damage as well. After well-being checks to confirm the safety of its employees were conducted, Golden was up and running a week after the storm. “We had the typical roof damage and bay doors blown out,” said Mike Shanley, president of Golden Marine Systems. “Very quickly everything was boarded up and protected until it could be repaired.”

Golden went right back to work manufacturing boat lifts and docks. “Within a matter of days, [Pink Shell] called me to rebuild the marina,” Shanley remembers. “Within a day or two, I got the numbers together, they signed, and we went to work.”

Dave O’Connor, manager of the Pink Shell marina, said all but five of the marina’s 33 original steel piles survived the storm. Two days after the storm, we didn’t have anything except the pilings,” he recalled.

While only the five piles needed replacement, the new docking system would need to meet precise manufacturing specs to fit the existing piles. Tolerance for the new docking system to match the existing piles was 1/8 of an inch. “We had a center point survey done to identify the center of the piles and positions,” Shanley said. “Then our engineers went to work and designed the docks, and we hit them spot on.”

To expedite the project, the new docks matched the same footprint as the original dock layout. Golden replaced the floating main dock and 13 fingers for a total of 41 slips that will serve mostly transient boaters. “We didn’t make any modifications,” O’Connor said. “It’s the exact same footprint.” Maintaining the original marina footprint avoided re-permitting, which allowed construction to begin immediately.

The dock installation was performed by long-time Golden dealer RJ Gorman Marine Construction, based out of Panama City. “Golden did an outstanding job of fabricating the new docks to fit around the undamaged piles,” said Jared Gorman, co-owner of RJ Gorman. “The installation went perfectly.” With the dock system installed successfully, the full opening of the marina waited only for electrical panels, which O’Connor noted, along with switch gears, had been scarce due to local demand following the storm. The marina is currently fully operational and enjoying the best of the 2024 season.

Protection Against Future Storms
The new docking system incorporates the Golden 850 Series Single Track System and Golden 100 Series Commercial Gangways, built of 6061-T6 aluminum to ensure strength against future storms. Proprietary features include the Integrated E-Tracks, which allow the marina to add and move cleats as needed for specific vessel sizes, while Flexi-Block connectors reduce dock noise as sections respond to wave activity.

O’Connor expressed sincere gratitude to the Golden team for their work. “Special thanks goes to Mike Shanley and the Golden production crew for their dedication, which facilitated the transformation of our space into a fully operational marina within 14 months, just in time for the season,” O’Connor said. “Their commitment to our project was much appreciated.”

In the rebuilding after Ian’s landfall, Golden was awarded four other large marina rehabilitation projects in the area. “The three marinas that we did have on Fort Myers beach all survived, so that testimony sold itself,” Shanley said.
Golden also assisted in reopening other Fort Myers Beach facilities, Moss Marine and Gulf Star Marina, rebuilding damaged gangways and dock sections. Federal agencies then utilized the marinas during search and rescue efforts on outer islands and coastal areas. “The response from local, state and federal was pretty intense,” Shanley added, “the best I’ve ever seen.”