“We’ve taken that 1950s technology and brought it up to 2013-2014 with a steel floating dock,” Jaime Flores, plant manager, said.
The new marina was completed in October after being closed all of September for renovations. The marina hosts an open house April 17-18 to show off the new marina and offer hot dogs and other surprises to guests.
When the project neared completion last year, cost estimates were between $2 million to $4 million. Company officials said final costs were within that range but would not disclose the actual figure.
The company’s main competitor in town is North Pacific Fuel, on the old Union 76 dock.
“We’re the old standard oil dock, said Flores.
The original floating wooden dock was built after the 1964 Good Friday tsunami destroyed the city’s fuel pier on Near Island. It was mounted on a shoreline hinge and knuckled up to the shore depending on the tide. Low tide could produce a significant climb from boat to marina.
“You had the 15- or 20-foot climb up and down. Now that it’s on an angle vertical to the dock the climb is a lot less noticeable. And it’s wider and it’s covered. It’s the one thing people really mention when they do down there. Especially if you’re not on the boat,” Flores said.
The new, 260-foot fuel dock is now a little further out into the channel, enabling Petro Marine to fuel up its staple commercial ships as well as handle smaller skiffs and pleasure boats at the same time. This feature allows skiffs to pull into the shoreward side of the dock even as a fishing boat fuels at the channel side.
Its rub rails are built of an impact-resistant composite. That means no need for tire bumpers, renowned for leaving black smudges on the hulls of coming and going ships. It also has longer ramps — this means that patrons will have an easier time getting on and off the pier. And Petro Marine now offers its clients coffee and popcorn in a shed on the water while they wait to get fueled.
Another plus: The new steel grates of the platform allow the snow to be melted through the dock into the ocean water, which is warmer than the snow. This enables the snow to melt through the deck.
“We didn’t do much snow shoveling this year,” Flores said.