When Hurricane Ian made landfall in Fort Myers Beach, it had been rated a category 4 storm with wind speeds up to 155 mph. Coastal properties and marinas were especially hard hit, with many simply destroyed. Three Golden Marine Systems installations, however, weathered the storm with only minimal damage and were soon operational: Gulf Star Marina, Moss Marina and Nervous Nellie’s.

“We’re based in North Fort Myers, so we know the devastation Ian caused, including to the boats within marinas,” said Bill Golden, company president. “But these three dock installations survived when others in the area did not, and we know why.”

Golden aluminum docks are built to articulate in wind and wave events. The noise-free rubber connections allow the sections to flex and roll in conditions that would break apart rigid systems. Piles used are higher than usual to contend with storm surges and with a deeper embedment to handle the extreme loads.

“Our engineering firm was progressive and forward-thinking in their pile design,” said Golden. “While it slightly increased the cost of the project, it more than paid for itself after the storm. In the end, our three customers had fewer repairs and were back in operation sooner.”

Except for a finger pier that was ripped away from the concrete piles when a shrimp boat hit it and was quickly reattached, the 7,100 sq. ft. 

Gulf Star Marina was put back into service within a week. Installed in 2019/2020, it became a temporary base for FEMA, which deployed barges loaded with local law enforcement and EMT personnel and vehicles, as well as heavy equipment, on search and rescue missions to Sanibel Island.

With only minor damage overall that was repaired within 10 days, 10,200 sq. ft. Moss Marina was the first to be operational after Ian passed. Because of this, it became the local U.S. Coast Guard’s temporary base of operations. Moss Marina was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and rebuilt in 2018 with epoxy-coated steel piles.

“It was amazing how the Golden docks made it through the storm,” said Ben Freeland, Moss Marina owner. “There was great communication pre-hurricane to prepare and the Golden team was one of the first vendors to contact us after the storm. We have been able to get 100% of our wet slips back in operation while other marinas are still struggling to get theirs ordered and installed.”

Within a month of contending with Hurricane Ian’s wrath, Nervous Nellie’s, an oceanfront restaurant with a year-old 1,565 sq. ft. dock area, was ready to receive boats. Minor repairs consisted of connection points and a guide for one of the wooden piles.

Golden Manufacturing engineers and custom fabricates aluminum boat lifts and aluminum and concrete floating dock systems for private, commercial and municipal use in an ISO 9001:2015 facility. It has a distribution warehouse in the Seattle, Washington area and an extensive network of over 190 dealers worldwide.

Contact Golden Manufacturing, 17611 East St., North Fort Myers, FL 33917. 888-909-5438 or 239-337-4141. [email protected];;

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