Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dock and boathouse amenities

After the last Board of Director’s Meeting of the Florida Marine Contractor’s Association this past July, my wife Lucy and I hosted a small party at our home for the meeting attendees. The purpose of the party was to entertain my fellow Board Members and their families and enjoy their company. I also wanted to show off some of the amenities that I sell with the docks I build. I try to get my prospective customers to come to my house and check out the work so that they can get an idea of the craftsmanship, design and possible amenities they could enjoy by working with Cloud 9 Service, Inc.

At the party, I discovered that most of my coastal brother and sister marine contractors do not have the ability to build covered decks or boat houses in their area. For those of you who are able to build covered activity decks and are not as limited on the maximum square footage allowed, I offer these design and amenity tips.

When designing your access walkway and you say have a stand of trees and you could just draw a straight line to get to the terminal platform or you could meander the walkway through the trees, choose to meander. I tell my customers that getting to the terminal platform is a major portion of the enjoyment of having and dock. It costs more money for the added walkway, but it is worth it.

When adding lighting to the dock or walkway, we use trim boards to conceal the wiring and we use lights that shine down onto the deck as opposed that shine out and cause light pollution. I am considering adding rope lighting to the sides of the terminal platform and walkway, but if I do, it will be behind a skirt so that the light shines down into the water as opposed to shining out across the lake.

In Central Florida, we are permitted to have covered activity decks. Cloud 9’s header system for the roof is comprised of (2) 2x10s sandwiching the 6x6 piling with a 2x6 at the bottom forming a trough beam. This trough beam allows us to add recessed can lighting in various colors and attached to a dimmer, it can be very beautiful. For my activity deck I also added LCD TVs driven by a DVD player with speakers hidden in an enclosed box in the ceiling. Sometimes we play movies but we mainly play music videos when we are entertaining. Then for the real parties we added a disco light that simulates waves of light across the deck, water and ceiling.

The summers are so hot here that we really can’t sit out on the covered activity deck without over heating or being eaten by mosquitoes. Those problems were solved by the addition of a water mist system to the box beam header system over the covered activity deck portion of the terminal platform area. The mist can reduce the ambient air temperature by up to 30 degrees depending on the relative humidity of the air. When you add the black lights, disco lights, blue recessed can down lights to the mist, it is a party on the water.

Since we planned the covered activity deck as a separate entertainment area, we finished it off with a granite table(wind stable) and chairs, a small drink frig and a waste and recycle bin area.

I know many of you have your own great ideas of amenity packages and I encourage you to write about them in an article like this and send to the Editor(Steven Webster) for publication of the FMCA. In this way, all of our fellow members and our customers across the State and Country can share our ideas that could help our businesses and make our lives more enjoyable. Rick Fender Cloud 9 Services, Inc. 407-481-2750

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