As reported in Marina World

F3 Marina opened its Fort Lauderdale drystack facility in Florida, USA at the end of October last year. By early November, occupancy levels were already at 70%.

Located at Southeast 16th Street on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), F3 Marina Fort Lauderdale originally broke ground in November 2019, bringing new drystack technology to the city. It is described by F3 Marina CEO David Behnke as “the ‘Ritz Carlton’ of drystacks,” delivering white-glove service and unrivalled luxury amenities.

F3 president, John Matheson, believes it to be the most advanced drystack marina in the world. “It’s an elevated experience featuring cutting-edge technology that embodies the maritime spirit of Fort Lauderdale,” he says. “Importantly, we are located in the heart of the boating community with quick access to the ICW, Port Everglades inlet, and all the action.”

Incorporating the use of an overhead crane with smart technology to automatically hoist vessels, the facility accommodates boats up to 46ft (14m) long, 13ft (4m) beam, and 20ft (6m) high with a weight limit of 40,000lbs (18.140kg). Secure indoor storage is provided for 240 vessels on racks that are six tiers high, and boats of appropriate height can be racked as high as 120ft (36.6m) within the 130ft (39.6m) tall structure. The building was constructed to withstand winds of up to 170mph, and the completed project covers a 1.3-acre footprint with 390ft (119m) of waterfront.

The technical hub of F3 Marina Fort Lauderdale is a computerized marine crane system which maximizes storage capability and minimizes boat retrieval time. Housed in a wet well, the boat lift retrieves boats from the water and places them in their reserved rack location. A boat can be lifted and stored, or retrieved and launched, in under five minutes. There are 21 wet slips for the staging process, which increases efficiency and reduces cycle time.

“The City of Fort Lauderdale has always been at the forefront of innovation in the marine industry, and this project not only complements those sentiments but elevates the marketplace offerings,” Matheson continues. “Boats are getting bigger, and the inventory to house them is becoming limited or non-existent in some cases. F3 Marina provides a unique solution to the City of Fort Lauderdale, solving this issue by making it possible to store larger vessels—up to 46 feet (14m) long and 20ft (6m) tall—inside our facility.”

The new drystack was a passion project which required a particularly skilled design and development team, as well as the support of the City, in order to come to fruition.

The structure itself was an incredibly complex build, requiring extremely meticulous timing and order. The building was constructed using every inch of the property boundaries, leaving no area to stage materials or equipment other than the site itself, which added to the challenges.

“Huge kudos goes to Ron Jezerinac of Jezerinac Group for his unconventional, out-of-the-box thinking while redesigning the structural engineering of the facility,” Behnke notes. “With the support of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Rinka + designed an amazing building; Miller Construction executed a remarkable strategy for the incredibly difficult sequencing of events this project required; and Doug Watt. Inc. and Edgewater Resources also played a crucial role in the success of the development.”

Not only did the project improve an existing technology, but it introduced innovation with the design of a ‘mega frame’ and ‘super caps’ to support 3,400,000lbs (1,540,000kg) of steel. “This design allows us to place the largest vessels on the top rack of a building over 100 feet (30m) high. And that’s never been done before,” Matheson says.

In addition to the impressive overall design and professional personal touch that F3 Marina offers, its boaters will enjoy superior customer service and key amenities, including: an upscale private lounge; indoor covered parking; on-site high-speed fuel; storage kicker rentals; and a retail ship store. And as an added bonus, boaters storing their vessels in the facility reduce their insurance costs by up to 50%.