Perceptions Of New And Established Waterfront Materials By U.S. Marine Decision Makers


  • Kimberly D. Bright
  • Paul M. Smith


Decking, piling, perceptions, product/market development, end-users, specifiers, marinas, marina dock systems, composites


A demand exists for strong, cost-effective, durable, and environmentally benign building materials for weather-exposed marina applications. In particular, the findings from a nationwide survey of decision makers at U.S. marinas indicate a need for waterfront materials and products with superior performance capabilities having a combination of "ideal" attributes that may not be currently available in the marketplace. This study examines the perceptions of decision makers at both large and small U.S. marinas and fixed versus floating dock systems regarding new and established waterfront materials in decking and piling applications. The findings from the survey indicate the most important decking material attribute for U.S. marinas was resistance to decay, followed by reliable strength, and low maintenance cost. The most important piling material attribute was also resistance to decay followed by reliable strength and resistance to impact. The least important attribute for both decking and piling was use of recycled materials. Material performance comparisons generally indicated a strong preference for composite decking and steel piling. In terms of cost, wood was perceived as the best (lowest cost); composites were perceived as the worst (highest cost). Knowledge ratings of composite products and the receptivity to new technologies indicated that marina respondents perceived themselves moderately knowledgeable of composite materials and moderately receptive to the adoption of new technologies.


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Research Contributions