Two years after Hurricane Matthew struck the Fernandina Beach, Fla., area in October 2016, Westrec Marinas received a $6.5 million authorization from the city to rebuild Fernandina Harbor Marina.
Marina manager Joe Springer told Trade Only Today that the facility is still less than 20 percent usable. When the storm hit, there were seven full-time employees and one part-timer at the marina. After Matthew, the staff was reduced to two full-time positions.
Following Westrec’s storm procedures, marina personnel secured all 41 boats in their slips prior to the storm. “No vessels sunk or were significantly damaged,” Springer said. The marina’s wave attenuator — a 1,120-foot floating dock constructed in 12-by-8-foot sections that are 27 inches high — took the brunt of the damage.
Springer said the wind and waves came through a 13-mile unobstructed fetch and caused the attenuator to move up and down and laterally on 66 pilings. “This action caused the pile guides to fail,” Springer said.
Continued wave action over the attenuator caused hairline fractures on almost every dock section. “The attenuator did what it was designed to do, he said. “It took the beating.”
Initial estimates for the repairs were $10 million to $15 million. Basic services for the 41 resident vessels have been restored, and some of the damaged docks and gangways are now usable.
Other damage included four of nine docks left inaccessible, and the café walkway broke separated from the building. Also, the dock store was lifted off its foundation. Electrical, water, fire, sewage and fuel lines are still down. Springer said the dock store’s future is uncertain because it’s not part of the repair contract.
The city of Fernandina Beach and Westrec manage the marina in a partnership. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits for reconstruction were issued earlier this year, and the $6.5 million contract for repairs has been authorized.
“City officials look forward to the return of boaters to Fernandina Beach next summer,” city manager Dale L. Martin said in a statement.