Marinetek docks boost mega-yacht business at Harborage Marina


Safe Harbor Marinas, the largest owner/operator of marinas in the USA, has responded to the increased demand for super yacht berths on Florida’s west coast by contracting Marinetek North America to design and build a section of bigger docks at The Harborage Marina, St Petersburg.

The impressive extension, which includes four side-tie moorings (seven slips) for yachts up to 200ft (61m) and ten slips for vessels up to 60ft (18m), opens up great possibilities for the marina.

“The beautiful deep waters of Tampa Bay have attracted boaters for years, but the lack of facilities able to handle mega-yachts has made it a non-destination for these vessels,” explains Harborage Marina General Manager Capt. Brian Sweeney. “We get requests almost daily for large slips with adequate power and facilities and now we are able to accommodate these people.”

Built to last

Marinetek’s floating concrete dock system was selected for its superior design and low lifecycle costs. “The system has no wood, no walers and through-rods, and none of the frequent and expensive maintenance associated with these components,” Sweeney notes. The resulting installation offers maximum safety and stability, and is complemented by state-of-the-art services.

The outer floating dock is a 13ft (4m) wide Marinetek BRS series wave attenuating dock and serves to protect the leeward pontoons from incoming wave energy from Tampa Bay. Marinetek Super yacht pontoons, measuring 10ft (3m) wide and with a 24-inch (61cm) freeboard, are used for the remaining docks and are anchored using 18-inch (46cm) square concrete piles. The wave attenuator is secured using 24-inch (61cm) square piles. A mix of 5-ton aluminium cleats, 7.5-ton aluminium bollards and 10-ton stainless steel bollards is incorporated.

Design challenges

Top level electrical services were designed and supplied by Marina Electrical Equipment (MEE), and installation – according to Marinetek Project Development Manager Bob Berry – brought the biggest project challenge. “The old existing docks had no room or buoyancy capacity to support all the electrical cables needed to service the mega-yachts, so Marinetek engineers worked with Safe
Harbor Marinas and MEE engineers to develop a unique solution,” he reports.


A 2ft (0.6m) wide floating utility trough was designed and built to accommodate all cables and piping and run parallel with the existing dock. It is joined to the old dock using flexible connections.

MEE provided the electrical system, offering a total of 1,200A at 480 volts, using receptacles from 30A to 200A with wireless metering, and EMP Industries designed and supplied a pump-out arrangement. Flush-mounted hydrants are installed at each dock for an uncluttered look and elimination of trip hazard.

Connecting two types of dock also required extra thought. Aluminium transition plates were used to connect old and new docks as they differ in design and freeboard and are not physically joined together. “This allows the two dock systems to react independently to storm conditions without affecting each other,” Berry says.

Perfect timing

Safe Harbor Marinas is delighted with the expansion. It brings the slip count at The Harborage Marina to 355, making it one of the largest marinas on the west coast of Florida. With good upland amenities including a captains’ lounge and swimming pool, and easy walking access to central St Petersburg and its recently revitalised waterfront, Sweeney is correct in his assertion that the mega-yacht expansion comes at the perfect time.

“The demand for larger slips with adequate utilities has never been higher,” he says. “Half of the new slips were leased before construction began and now we are almost sold out. Everyone loves the new docks.”

Check out the Marinetek built mega yacht docks on Fox 13 news here.