Bellingham Marine receives innovation award for Unifloat system

Bellingham Marine’s Unifloat concrete floating dock system, which was first patented in the 1950s, was recognized by the Marina Recreation Association as a historical innovation that has had a substantial impact on the modern marina industry.

The Innovation Award was issued to Bellingham at the Association’s annual MRA conference last week in Santa Barbara, California.

“As one for the most popular dock systems in the world for coastal applications, Bellingham’s Unifloat concrete dock system, clearly reflects the intent of the award,” said MRA president Kevin Ketchum.

The waler connected floating dock system was developed in the mid 1900s by Ernest M. Usab of Long Beach, Calif. More than 23 million square feet of Unifloat docks have been manufactured by Bellingham Marine and installed in marinas around the world since the company first started manufacturing the Unifloat system in 1958, according to Bellingham

“In the early years, we learned a lot about Ernie’s original design, its strengths and its weakness, and began to improve upon his system immediately,” said Bellingham Marine president Everett Babbitt.

Cardboard boxes sealed with masking tape and shellac originally used to fill the core of the concrete box were replaced with non-absorbing closed cell expanded polystyrene. Steel inserts used to attach the wood walers to the sides of the float modules were replaced with a thru-rod system and eventually the lightweight, moderate strength concrete mix was upgraded to project specific, high strength mixes.

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“These early improvements along with several others marked the beginning of the evolution of the Unifloat system that continues to this day,” Babbitt said.

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