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Swing Set

Mar 17, 201412:07 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Zoomin' on the Zuma

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Mark has been slammed with issues since he started his job recently and prioritizing problems is, well, a problem, but the issue of the dock boxes are on his radar screen for sure. He mentioned that the current plan was to remove the boxes in the event of an approaching storm, but I countered with the fact that that solution was not only labor intensive when there would be other things to worry about if a hurricane is breathing down our necks, what about the contents of each box? The owners of boats may need the contents of the box that is assigned to their slip, especially if they want to store items in the box that they'd like to have off of the boat when a storm comes.

We both agreed that making holes in the concrete is out, as eventually the holes will compromise the concrete in the way of cracking and such, so he mentioned using epoxy to glue the boxes down as another method being considered, but I asked him to also consider that using epoxy was not only expensive, but it would leave a mess if the box was ever to be moved if a boat owner wanted some flexibility in the location of the box. (I, for one, would like the box to be offset to the side of where it is now if we ever needed to park "bow in" at some point.) I think I've convinced him that using an epoxy is not a good idea.

I've been around a lot of docks, and in areas of the country that are conducive to tornadoes and floods, and even had our own docks on the Meramec River for 20 years, so I know a little about mounting dock boxes and keeping docks, so I threw my idea out there.

If I had my way, I'd use a 12-inch length of 2x4 inside each box on either end, with a hole drilled through one side of it (because the boxes sit on the edge of a skirting) to accommodate a 3/8" lag bolt, either stainless steel or galvanized, 5 or 6 inches long. Because the skirting surrounding the concrete decking is made of PVC "lumber", backed by thick treated framing under it, the two lag bolts only need to be drilled through the 2x4 in the box, then through the thin fiberglass of the box, through the PVC decking, and then into the thick framing of the dock. The 2x4s will keep the dockbox from tipping and breaking a hole in the bottom of the box, and using a 3/8" bolt will keep it from snapping off.

The other issue is that the management here doesn't want to put any holes in the PVC decking. A couple of holes in the decking will be invisible, as will the method of attaching the boxes, but if one wanted to move a box and leave some holes exposed in the decking, those holes will be a lot better to have than a bunch of dock boxes flying around in a storm, and just yesterday they added two more bricks per box as a short term solution, I guess, so now each six-foot dock box missile is armed with four bricks each. Could do some serious damage to a boat. Decking material is much cheaper to replace than a boat window.

It was also actually mentioned that another solution would be to fill each box with water if a storm is coming to weight them down. Really? If removing the boxes, or filling them with water and bricks, is the answer, if I was the owners here I'd just sell them back to the supplier and get my money back because the boxes will be of no use to the boat owners when they really need them, and that's to put belongings in when a storm comes, and have access to them immediately after.

I hope I can get someone to seriously consider my idea to mount these boxes, and I'm going to be beating that drum whenever I can, but I'm the "new guy," and the new guy never knows anything. That's why it was so hard at the beer factory to get an idea across, because the turnover in junior management was so frequent, the senior beer brewers were still only "new guys" to them and they had to constantly prove themselves to college-age kids, or otherwise older brewmasters with "stuck in a rut" ideas.

So, why do I care? Because I hate to see anyone waste money. Somebody here needs to do a cost analysis in terms of materials and labor, plus any added liability if they fail to prevent damage to an expensive yacht due to a flying dock box. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Maybe this is a military installation and money is no object.

Progress is seen every day here at the marina, though. Look at the picture of this 200+ foot dive boat that is here for a stay! There really is no other marinas in the area that can accommodate a boat of this size, and the piers at Mallory Square are strictly for the big cruise ships.

Otherwise, we had a visit with some folks following the blog. They don't have a boat yet, and they wanted to discuss some of their options for when they go looking. Hope we gave them some ideas, and dispelled some others.

Our blog is not only inspiring non-boat owners, some friends back home on the Mississippi are beginning plans to retire and come down this way in 14 months or so, and thanked us for being their inspiration. That makes us feel good.

What doesn't make us feel good is folks who resent the fact that we are retired down here enjoying great weather and they are still working and dealing with the cold and snow. We paid our dues. Don't be hatin'.

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