Composite piling for eco-sense and long life
The Windward Marina Group (WMG) has chosen Shoreline Plastics’ composite piling – the EcoPile – to replace older wooden and concrete pilings across its portfolio of soon-to-be 14 marinas in Florida. The work, which began in 2018, has so far seen 300 EcoPiles installed across the state, including the complete revamp of two marinas, with another two lined up.WMG is a waterfront specialist providing marine services that run the gamut from complete marina management and boat storage to food and beverage sales. Its facilities include the 250-berth Jax Beach Marina and a peppering of niche marinas located up and down the eastern seaboard. Its team of 25 experts at the St Augustine Marine Center offer boat services including full refit of yachts up to 100ft (30m), along with a full-service prop shop, outboard engine facility and a painting operation.
The collaboration between WMC and Shoreline Plastics stems from their shared enthusiasm for environmentally friendly solutions that stand the test of time – and the EcoPile, which comes with a 25-year warranty and stands up to hurricane-force winds, is proving the perfect fit.
“WMG entered the market in northeast Florida in 2018 with the intent to create a lifestyle of sustainable waterfront experiences while providing best-in-class service,” says Christopher Simon, WMG’s vice president of marina operations and portfolio asset management. After its third acquisition, the Group began to focus on developing its marinas to improve the overall experience for customers, while using the most sustainable materials it could find to minimise its carbon footprint.
The time it takes to install the EcoPile (see Marina World, January/February 2021, p. 47) is around the same amount of time as using timber, but the poles are much lighter and easier to handle for the contractor, Austin Porter, EcoPile’s vice president of sales and marketing, explains. However, this depends on multiple variables – the number of poles needed per project, the size of the job, whether or not lifts are available, if the marina is floating or fixed.
Selecting the EcoPile over more traditional systems may have only a marginal effect on the overall price of the project, but it will offer a lifespan of over 50 years, making it a cost-saving, long-term investment, Porter says. “We like to say building with the EcoPile allows your marina to appreciate with the value of the land over time, instead of putting a depreciating asset out over the water.”
The EcoPile is constructed using a large amount of recycled compounds and, at the end of its life cycle, it can be recycled once again. “Marine treated lumber leaches millions of pounds of toxic treatment out into the waterways every year, while the EcoPile is completely inert, having no adverse effect on the environment,” Porter says. “On top of being the best choice environmentally, the EcoPile stands above as the best long-term value, as it will outlast any other piling option with little to no maintenance.”
The EcoPile is engineered to meet the rigorous construction needs of walkways, boat lifts and boathouses. It is 100% free from any leaching pollutants, entirely recyclable and completely impervious to wood boring organisms.