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Florida vs. Georgia Rivalry Tradition Saved by Floating Docks

When Hurricane Irma destroyed the docks at a favorite tailgate marina, three organizations came together to save the day and the party.

Jacksonville, FL – On Saturday more than 150,000 college football fanatics converged on Jacksonville for the annual Florida vs. Georgia game lovingly known as The World’s Largest Cocktail Party. Eager fans traditionally start docking their boats at the City’s nearby Metropolitan Park Marina on Friday, spending the weekend celebrating with in-water tailgating. This year Irma had other plans.

The Metro Park fixed docks were completely wiped out by Hurricane Irma’s storm surge. According to the National Weather Service, storm waters reached up to 6 ft. above normal high tides, an event never seen before, as Irma passed Jacksonville.  Many normally dry places were left underwater.

With roughly 600 people needing the docks for game day, this posed a huge problem. City officials reached out to Bellingham Marine to see if there was any possibility of having docks in time for the weekend’s festivities.

Fortunately, Bellingham had an inventory of temporary timber docks waiting in a nearby plant. “The docks were built for the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) as part of an expansion project for the Miami International Boat Show Marina,” said Steve Ryder, Manager of Project Development for Bellingham Marine.

“NMMA officials graciously agreed to allow the City of Jacksonville to rent the docks as part of their rental inventory program. The only stipulation was that they have them back before Christmas, so they will be ready for the boat show in early February.

On October 24th, Bellingham Marine began a two day install of 640 ft. of floating timber docks for the City to use as temporary moorage for the big game. With a bit of luck and some quick action on everyone’s part, the City, NMMA and Bellingham Marine were able to come together to save a favorite part of The World’s Largest Cocktail Party.

Bellingham Marine is the world’s leading design-build marina construction company. Bellingham Marine specializes in floating dock, floating platform and floating wave attenuation systems for marinas worldwide. The company also produces dry storage systems for the upland storage of boats.

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