When the seas rise – challenges and strategies

An emerging issue that we see given more and more emphasis across our portfolio of projects is the consideration given to the implication of future Sea Level Rise (SLR). This is an issue that arises primarily in new waterfront development projects, which is of little surprise as the impacts and reality of climate change are more obvious and often a project-wide concern.
by Mike Ward and Phil Dunn, Marina Projects Ltd

A simple SLR solution is to set quay walls and promenades at the necessary flood-level.

A simple SLR solution is to set quay walls and promenades at the necessary flood-level.

The issue is currently less of a focus on existing waterfront developments or marinas because there is no imperative requirement to retrospectively consider the issue. Our expectation is that the need to address SLR will increase in the coming years, particularly as the redevelopment of older harbours and waterfronts is embraced. Without delving into detail, this article considers the issue from a design perspective and the approaches and/or environments that arise when solutions are retrofitted.
It is worth keeping in mind that this article touches on SLR in its broadest sense and as a solitary influence when, in reality, the consequential risk of flooding is actually a combination of factors such as tidal range, coastal surge, storm events, etc. There is also a distinction between coastal and fluvial flooding where the latter may present options for management rather than outright prevention.
As marina and waterfront development consultants, we are constantly striving to reinforce the connection between the land and the water and removing or softening barriers that exist at this interface. This is about more than just operational requirements and a customer enjoying easy access to a berth. It is also about the development as a whole and the wider audience who wants to enjoy the waterfront and animation that a marina and on-water activity provides. Encouraging this interaction, in a safe and appropriate fashion is physical, visual and emotional. The challenge is acknowledging SLR and the need to reduce flood risk, whilst also satisfying operational needs today and in the future.
A simple solution is to set quay walls and promenades at the necessary flood-level or introduce a flood wall around the water’s edge. The nature of the fixed infrastructure would often call for 100 years or more of SLR to be accommodated. It can immediately be appreciated that addressing a predicted magnitude of SLR in this way has the potential to create a physical barrier or a ‘disconnect’ between the land and water. As explained, this is the precise opposite of what we are trying to achieve with an integrated approach to waterfront design.
Furthermore, a pre-emptive increase in quay wall level can impact on its functionality, particularly in locations of limited tidal range and where stern-to quayside berthing is to be provided. A solution can often be found through the introduction of pontoon berthing but this approach has limitations, particularly with respect to access, connectivity, need for longer access bridges and the ability to accommodate larger superyachts.
Designing on tiered levels gives full access to the water’s edge during normal water levels but provides a barrier if water rises.

Designing on tiered levels gives full access to the water’s edge during normal water levels but provides a barrier if water rises.

The visual impact of higher quay walls and edge treatments can be more subtle, but there is no doubt that it reduces the connection and relationship with the water, particularly in instances where a flood wall is introduced. More and more we find ourselves working harder with architects and landscape designers to draw visitors towards the marina and waterfront and the barriers described here require careful consideration. The issues are less critical where large expanses of water and far reaching views exist, but with narrower basin shapes and waterways the visual effect is exacerbated, resulting in a somewhat cold and hostile environment or ‘ditch’ with limited sunlight. The result either turns people away from the water’s edge or forces those drawn to it to the very edge of the quayside.
Design solutions
There is a range of potential solutions and when designing in a marina setting some care is required to select the most appropriate design, rather than just applying a solution that has worked elsewhere. The solution should be technically resilient while providing character, uniqueness and sense of place.
Marina equipment, such as telescopic piles and floating pontoons, accommodate extreme events while maintaining  marina access.

Marina equipment, such as telescopic piles and floating pontoons, accommodate extreme events while maintaining marina access.

There are undoubtedly lessons to be learnt from the inland waterways sector, where rather than addressing tides and SLR, marinas and waterfronts have for years been dealing with extreme flood levels. There are some good examples where the approach is to prevent extreme event inundation through use of a flood wall or defence that meanders and is set back from the water’s edge, and effectively hidden within the adjacent landscape. The space between water and defence can allow for landscaping, tiered seating and the all-important access and connectivity with the waterfrontage during normal water levels. The solution is space hungry and has a cost implication and therefore it might form part of a suite of solutions or landscapes, with spatial priority given to the heart of a waterfront zone where a public square or arena interacts with the water’s edge.
The final solution is likely to be a combination of measures, and a pontoon system may well have a part to play, satisfying the operational needs of users and providing segregation whilst also softening the impact of vertical quay walls.
In such scenarios, the marina equipment needs to be considered and must be designed to accommodate extreme events and maintain marina access, perhaps without creating a permanent installation at the extreme level. Examples include telescopic piles or dynamic mooring restraints that have additional capacity built-in.
A waterfront is required to adapt instantly to extreme storm events and the typical level may be the baseline for decades to come, whereas long-term increase in SLR requires a sequential approach. Here, the life of individual marina assets can assist, and solutions should be designed accordingly. For example, if a pile or access bridge has a 30-year design life, there is little point in designing for sea level rise over 100 years. Opportunity is provided for a business led approach, factoring in asset replacement and a change in market demand. Similarly, a staged approach can be applied to waterfront landscaping where, over time, terraces at lower levels are sacrificed or built up as SLR increases beyond the baseline level. Careful design attention must be given to services and their routing, and pontoon access points, building in some design redundancy (e.g. bridge length) but, again, with consideration to design life and asset replacement.
When retrofitting existing marinas, a flood wall and/or gate solution, as seen here at Royal Clarence Marina, Gosport, UK offers good protection.

When retrofitting existing marinas, a flood wall and/or gate solution, as seen here at Royal Clarence Marina, Gosport, UK offers good protection.

Retrofitting existing marinas/waterfronts
As noted, it is likely that over time more attention will need to be given to retrofitting solutions to existing marinas and waterfronts. Opportunities will be more limited, and the luxury of landside space is often rare, meaning a flood wall and/or flood gate solution may be the only practical option. The resulting disconnect with the water, inconvenience for customer access, and impact on aesthetics is possibly overcome with creative solutions, often at the expense of water space. Examples might include floating terraces, suspended/floating boardwalks or floating cafés.
Early attention to SLR and a strategic ‘full life’ approach should lead to improved and creative solutions. Crucially, there is a need for architects, landscape designers and marina designers to work closely and share an understanding of the respective user requirements and how issues apply to a particular site/location. Careful attention must be given to the site conditions, its character and context to ensure an appropriate design solution across the life of the project.


Waterfront innovations in Canada

New agent for Capria

Breaking ground on the future

Port Vell launches bunkering service

Pacsoft launches MarinaPay

Extra berths at The Boat Works

Storm protection in Quincy Bay

Dura adds smaller size mesh

Smart Marinas guide and 2022 industry statistics

Man Overboard alarm readies for export

Eco pedestals promoted for export

Safe storage for lithium batteries

Freedom adds two Sydney clubs

Rental service boost in South Florida

New transporter is fit for a Princess

Keeping it in the family

Metstrade remains essential anchor point

Adapting marinas to alternative fuel propulsion systems

EV charging in the marina industry

Whitepaper illuminates key role of bidirectional charging

Mobile fuel station pioneers sustainability and efficiency

Resilient marina renovations lead to coral relocation

New research outlines pathways to decarbonisation

A resilient rebirth at Zeke's Landing

Renovations, partnership and acquisitions

Partnership boosts nautical tourism

Replacement docks double superyacht capacity

Premier buys leading drystack

Tourist driven marina breaks ground

Waikawa extension opens

Ultra luxury on The Spit

Launching Norlana superyacht hub

Popular boat lifts form part of renovation project

New forklift boosts operator confidence

Digital payment solution for visitor moorings

Stacking up on Okanagan Lake

Smart software drives success in Mooloolaba

Using bacteria to eliminate hydrocarbon residues

Sustainable sanitation for America’s Cup bases

MDL continues multi million pound roll ut

D-Marin makes €1.7 million investment

Voting in the best for 2023

Regeneration continues at Isle of Wight harbour

Expansion plans in a buoyant market

Customers, culture, comms and carbon

Ligurian icons make a comeback

Welcoming megayachts to Istanbul

Integra buys Aventura marina

Med marina networks partner up

Renewed Dover dock nears completion

Merger creates 'biggest' South Florida marina

Sindalah yacht repair centre, first of many for Neom

New Calero group marina, and more

IBEX one of best to date

Plans firmed up for Habacoa

M3 to boost Amaala to La Belle Classe

IWMC 2025 heads to Venice

AMI keynote announced

Redeveloping a prime lakeside marina

Charging options on both sides of the Channel

Sanitary building kick starts floating building range

Hydrogen power

Floating patio becomes new marina hub

Boosting sustainability with the WRF

New lifts in facility upgrade

Interest builds for electric hoists

Majoring on the minority

Flying the Blue Flag

Silver EcoVadis for Premier

Protecting a sensitive ecosystem

Tangible benefits for the local area

Karpaz Gate Marina: A home away from home

Convenience is not a European value

Industry lobbies government on cyclone cover crisis

Upgrades at Port of Lisbon

Port 32 expands partnership with Gulfstream

North Island marina expands

Monument buys Florida marine centre

Marine Centre plans for James Watt

JYC Marina soft opens for Saudi Grand Prix

Wider decking panel– ideal for finger piers

GCMarine partners with Harbour Assist

Elevator Lift is reconfigured

Cleaning water with Advanced Oxidation

Trouble free trolley goes international

Waiting pontoon for high season

More Freedom in Australia

First in Barcelona, first in Redwood City

D Marin wins iF Design award

Futuristic pod delivered to the Pearl

New production line, new designs and noteworthy deliveries

New owners to invest in Dartside Quay

Multi use trailer for Canadian tourism service

Handle with care: a pad for all hull shapes

One year operation of electric boat hoists

Setting new delivery records for 2023

Variable width option for mobile boat hoists

IBEX 2023: focus on sustainability

In need of new marinas and new money

Superyacht marina for Dubai Islands

Swift progress on Blue Water Cay

Bermuda dock opens for superyachts

New managers for GCCM

IGY to operate NEOM's first groundbreaking marina

Mega focus in Italian marinas

Marina Bahia Golfito: the new Costa Rica destination

Rivergate up for sale

Full service in Fort Lauderdale

Go Outdoors platform launch

Upgrading key infrastructure

Marina group in administration

Operator sought for Co Down marina

How sustainable is your marina?

Geoff Phillips

UK marina group signs four year service contract

Valterri Vauramo

Joint connector enhances breakwater performance

Flovac wins second Mallorca contract

Setting a new standard in marine electrical safety

Smarter management, happier customers

Enhancing customer service across a multinational portfolio

Moss Marina: surviving the storm

Developing the Eagle Float

Wet versus dry in the western Med

First phase drystack opens in Charleston

Forklift design for growing centre console market

Pioneering drystack buys larger forklift

Industry views: Drystack storage

Promoting a customer focused culture

Ismailia contract awarded

Trophy asset for east coast portfolio

Marina completes waterfront regeneration

Investment plans for Pylos

Operator chosen for Elounda

New marina at town gateway

Guidelines for sustainable infrastructure

Evolving design over the decades

New trends drive marina reshape

Electric chargers for Italian marinas

D Marin expands digital solutions

Next generation buoy

Ultranav invests in LifeLadder

New hoist brings new technology

Pontoons for Ocean Race

Electric propulsion: a solution to pollution

Collection and protection for small islands

AMI Expo: a record breaker

Slovenian marinas join forces to boost potential

Resilience, long term vision and personal approach

Support for local businesses

Becoming a master at planning marinas

A nautical tourism centre for Piombino

Ismailia Yacht Marina: a key player in the new era of the Suez Canal

Rebuild underway at Club marina

Upgrade approved for Jones Bay

Port 32 buys Lighthouse Point

Suntex adds NJ and AZ marinas

Marina group expands to Spain

Port Vell as Cup superyacht marina

Berths still in high demand

Community space with maritime focus

Livart builds state of art factory

Dock company changes hands

New catalogue highlights

A 3D map of your marina

All change at ICOMIA

ICOMIA stats for 2021

Stellar joins Molo

Developing a fast charge network

The move to electric: e handling and e boating

Building a sustainable marina

Buzzing on full power

Innovation on the dockside

E dock supports e boat challenges

World Cup boosts pedestal contracts

Power for bigger berths in Dubrovnik

Opening the APS Seychelles agency

Building post pandemic momentum

Jesolo Marina plays major part in coastal plans

Reimagining Noss on Dart

Regeneration planning for Des Moines

Suntex buys Green Cove

New docks at Blue Haven

First NEOM island announced

Plan ahead for Marinas24

Novalja opens second phase

Melbourne City completes large berth upgrade

Inaugural PIANC America

Calypso Cove project agreed

Funding boost for Ocean Reef

MarineMax buys marina build specialist

Pod design to regenerate seagrass

First electric boat supercharger in Portugal

20 years for ICMS

Community docks for St Johns River

D-Marin invests in Sense4Boat

Autonomous gardening – anywhere under the sun

Australian marina sets new benchmark in waterfront living

Electric and traditional – hoist designs for all

Cat trailer range expanded

Ontario operator buys multi use trailer

Green o'clock at Metstrade

40 years of yard deliveries

One of the world's first electric marine hoists is installed in Spain

Twenty years of talented teamwork

Kemah Boardwalk: Gateway to Galveston Bay

Marinas and takeovers: Enough room for boating?

True spice in the Spice Island

Top US boat dealer launches first in state drystack

Captains and crew vote Coral Sea Marina 'best in world'

First superyacht repair and refit centre in UAE

Abu Dhabi: a new winter oasis

Gibraltar superyacht berths near completion

Superyachts welcome at Palm Beach marina

The big boat picture in southern Italy

Seclusion and luxury in the Bahamas

Jersey marina invests in rebuild

New superyacht haven in Greek isles

Resort opens in favoured tourist spot

Hurricane Ian devastates Fort Myers marinas

NZMOA 2022 Awards

Big Challenges, Big Decisions

Suntex expands into California market

Ocean Reef breakwaters complete

Almarin buys Aister

Historic club installs movable rowing pontoon

Partnership boosts green awareness

Fast charge expansion to US and Sweden

Customised forklift for Saxon Wharf

New decking prompts rethink

Silver and gold for D Marin

Third gen business buys third MT

MARINAS22: inspiring – and successful

Adelaide Pointe: a new development model

Repairs bring new energy to Dinner Key Marina

Buying and managing a first Italian marina

South Island gem for boating community

Construction starts at Dana Point Harbor

Second contract for 2024 Olympics

First phase completes at Windermere

Golden centrepiece at Beach Marine

Interest builds for megayacht marina

Common nautical rules sought

MarineMax to buy IGY Marinas

Bristol town upgrades harbour

Med market hit by lack of uniform fee policy

The good, the fair and the dangerous

The future of government marina leases and concessions

Boosting berths in Roskilde

Vacuum sewage system for new Spanish marina

Canadian club buys stacker crane

European boost for electric charging

Phase one portal release

Sign up surge for marina platform

Maximising occupancy: the smart way

Mia and Mateo and the smart marina

Delivering a digital future for marina management

One system for your whole business

Revolutionising time at the fuel dock

Kempinski to manage one of a kind hotel

A shared vision for the future on water

Building the first sustainable floating city

Flexible marina investment for maximum returns

New life for neglected peninsula

APCC wins Jubail contract

Resource consent for Te Rahui Herenga Waka

Spit plan contract

Berth boost at BYC

More cats welcome in Kemah

Planning for Enviro Officer course

Marina mooted in the east

Revised costing for St George's

JDC progresses mega project

Health of Industry report

MYP becomes MYTR at IBEX

Free flow club design links land to sea

Ambitious plans for a 21st century network

Azimut Benetti marinas

New all tide marina to enhance leisure mooring

Balancing land use, economics and destination appeal

When the seas rise

Sponsored feature: Semi automation boosts drystack

Phase two pier in place

Superyacht marina opts for vacuum sewerage

Storm proven attenuator protects Sunset Bay

Custom forklift for Cape Cod yard

Added value software features for ever changing industry

Developing a new green standard for Italian marinas

New yachting brand officially launched in Monaco

Coral Sea Marina Resort marks Clean Up Australia Day

Closing the loop on waste

Sustainable solutions support yard services

Composite piling for eco sense and long life

Future proofing St Michaels Marina

Trio to develop resort on Al Marjan Island

Semi automation boosts drystack profits

Final phase at Corpach

Upgrade complete at Albert Pier

Marinas to compete in Smart and Sustainable Rendezvous 2022

Abu Dhabi breaks ground on new marinas

Resort plans in Wallonia

Pelican Waters breaks ground on Queensland marina

New Cyprus Marina

Positive signs for Metstrade 2022

LA Waterfront. Setting the stage for new development

New yard in Australia

Marina group marks 35 years