Marinas hit with new regs

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers policy concerning dock floatation has many marina operators in Southern Missouri and parts of Arkansas worried, according to an article in today’s Baxter Bulletin.

The Little Rock District policy will require marinas in the regions to replace polystyrene foam under their docks with encapsulated foam, according to the article. No time frame has been set for the replacement, the newspaper reported. Marinas will be expected to replace the polystyrene foam – characterized by one industry insider as “an environmental disaster” – as it wears out.

While area marina operators told the newspaper the policy had taken them by surprise, such rules have been put into place in other regions across the country over the past decade, according to Alex Laidlaw, director of operations for Westrec Marinas and president of the Association of Marina Industries.

“It’s actually a good thing from both an environmental standpoint and an economic standpoint,” he commented in an interview today. “The encapsulated foam has an indeterminate life expectancy and is more structurally sound. It may be an expensive refit, but once you’ve done it, you’re done.”

For local marina operators, the biggest concern is the expense. Ricky Eastwold, owner of Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock, told the newspaper he estimates the cost of replacing the foam at his 800-slip marinas would range between $1.5 million and $2 million.

“It will either put me out of business or I’ll have to triple the stall rental over five years,” said Eastwold, who suggested that most of his slip rental customers could not afford such an increase.

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