Upscale Marina Opening Soon in Palm Beach

The Town of Palm Beach, Florida, will be reopening its public marina this fall after a complete renovation of the facility. Although the number of slips has only increased by one, the 84 new slips will be significantly larger, ranging from 60 feet to 294 feet long. This will allow Palm Beach to accommodate the growing need for superyacht berths.

“The Town of Palm Beach has a unique situation, a beautiful location in one of the most iconic places in the United States” said Steve Ryder, senior project development manager at Bellingham Marine, which is building and installing the new docks. “The new marina epitomizes the growth of the type of facilities that these customers want – safe, structurally very sound, and with the power and services that these massive boats require.”

Planning for the renovation began several years ago with a market assessment. “The town has had a marina since the 1940s, and while the docks have had a couple of renovations, the wooden fixed docks that were last renovated in the 1990s had reached the end of their useful life. If we were going to go ahead with a renovation, it made sense to investigate and research doing a floating dock system,” said Carolyn Stone, Palm Beach’s assistant town manager.

The Town Council voted in 2019 to provide $34 million needed for renovations and improvements. Murray Logan Construction, Inc. was chosen as general contractor for the project, which comprises shoreside infrastructure upgrades, seawall improvements and replacement, dredging, pile driving, and the docks.

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Bellingham Marine’s work as a subcontractor for Murray Logan includes the replacement of three existing docks – the Brazilian Dock, the Australian Dock and the Peruvian Dock, each about 570 feet long – and the construction of the new, 250-foot Royal Palm Dock. The small dock will offer side tie dockage, primarily for small boats like tenders and for transient boaters who want to visit downtown Palm Beach for the day.

The fingers on the three large docks are 8 to 12 feet wide, which allows for easy provisioning and comfortable access for guests visiting the boats. The docks have a concrete broom finish, with a cast concrete cover on the raceways. They carry electrical service (from single phase to three-phase to 480-volt service) as well as potable water, sewer, and fire protection.

One benefit of the concrete floating dock system is the habitat for sea life that it provides below water. “It creates a growth area for filter feeders like worms and sponges, which are really important to help clean water. Plus, they attract small fish, which attract bigger fish. So you have a marina facility that is built for the users but also has a very big impact on the environment,” Ryder said.

Other amenities at the marina include high-speed internet, cart and porter concierge services, high-end security cameras throughout the property, and an access control system that works via a phone (rather than with a fob or key card).

Each of the three main docks has its own shower and bathroom. While there’s a small lounge area for crews, the Town of Palm Beach has recreational amenities available including its new recreation center, Par 3 Golf Course and Tennis Centers.

Building the dock in the heart of an upscale residential neighborhood presented some challenges. “It requires very good coordination between deliveries and equipment leaving the site so that you’re not inundating the neighborhood with big equipment rumbling around all times of the day,” said Ryder. “There was a really big emphasis on making sure that the residents of Palm Beach were not negatively affected by the work.” The project has progressed smoothly, thanks to the excellent teamwork among all the construction partners and the Town of Palm Beach.

Stone said that the marina already has deposits for leases on 78% of the new slips. Some owners of smaller boats have signed up for large slips just because they want to be in that location, she added.

Construction was on schedule at the end of July, and the Town expects to welcome the first boats to its new marina by November 1.