US-based marina builder Bellingham Marine has completed an upgrade project at Lake Sonoma Resort, in northern Carolina. The facility has replaced the dated timber docks with Unifloat concrete floating docks that offer both covered and open slips.

The marina’s 28-year-old timber docks were replaced with a state-of-the-art concrete floating dock system from Bellingham Marine. In addition, a roof structure was installed on three of the docks.

“The marina was in need of new docks,” says Rick Herbert, owner of Lake Sonoma Resort. “We wanted to make an investment in our facility that would add to the long term value of the property and improve our customers’ experience. The marina’s docks were a wise choice.”

“It gets hot in our area during the summer months. A covered dock is an amenity that is greatly appreciated and to some extent expected,” adds Herbert.

Although lightweight dock systems are a more traditional choice for inland, seasonal marinas, primarily for financial reasons, concrete docks are becoming a viable alternative.

According to Herbert When Bellingham’s price for their Unifloat system came in competitive they were his first choice. “I think they are the best and they last a long time,” says Herbert. “We estimate a 60 plus year life for our marina.”

Commenting on the project, Steve Canaday, Bellingham Marine manager of project development, says: “No other dock system can handle a roof structure and related load requirements, like a concrete dock can. Once long term maintenance, performance, useful life, and user experience are taken into account, the Unifloat concrete system offers the best value for an owner wanting a covered marina whether it be a coastal or inland facility.”

One of the challenges of the Lake Sonoma site was the required anchoring system and fluctuation in water height.

“The marina needed the ability to be moved in and out with changing water levels, which can be up to 40 feet,” explains Herbert. “We needed some flexibility in the system’s main connection points. When you move a 361-slip marina, it has to be done in sections.”

Bellingham Marine designed a fifth-wheel connection that is used where each arm connects to the main walkway. This connection allows the docks to pivot slightly, which greatly reduces the loads and stresses placed on the connection point when the docks are being moved.

Lake Sonoma Resort is located in Lake Sonoma, a reservoir, in northern California. The resort includes a marina, campground, boat rental, general store, restaurant, and a handful of other services and amenities.

The marina was rebuilt in 2016 by Bellingham Marine with 361 slips for vessels up to 30 feet.