Beneath Your Feet

The new docks are easy to break down and store after the show ends.

Miami Boat Show, Miami Marine Stadium, Docks
The new docks are being constructed in a way that makes them easy to break down and store after the show ends each year.Courtesy Bellingham Marine

Steve Ryder has spent 28 years working for Pennsylvania-based Bellingham Marine, which, after 60 years in business, touts itself as being the largest dock-building company in the world. Ryder and his colleagues have seen a lot of marinas — but never anything like what they’re building for the 2016 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show.

Most boat shows are staged at marinas with existing concrete docks. “The unique thing with the Miami boat show location is that there’s nothing there,” Ryder says. “It has to be completely built for this one single purpose.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association insisted that the new docks be built environmentally friendly, avoiding using temporary docks that could break apart and become floating garbage. The Yachts Miami Beach show on Collins Avenue, run by Show Management, is reportedly working on plans to invest several million dollars to address the same concerns.

Unlike other boat shows, the new home of this year's show has no existing marina. Bellingham Marine is building the whole thing from scratch.

This year, Bellingham Marine is building the NMMA show’s temporary docks from encapsulated foam. Long in use at many boat shows, the foam is made from microscopic beads that comprise a big block. It floats nicely, but if a boat hits it, the beads and chunks can break off. To prevent that, the new docks are encapsulated, which means thick, black plastic surrounds those foam blocks.

“Ramming it with a superyacht is generally OK,” Ryder says. “You can’t cut it with a knife.

“Well,” he adds, “I guess you could if you sat there and carved for a while, but it’s a very, very tough plastic.”

CA-C: The sealant on the pine planks is said to meet California regulations for use in fresh-water reservoirs.

Sustainable Steps: The deck planking where showgoers will walk this year is being built from renewable southern yellow pine wood.