Out with the old, in with the new

Legendary Marina completing nearly $1 million renovation

Tina Harbuck

Legendary Marina is a getting a facelift of sorts.

Although it didn’t appear that Hurricane Michael, which devastated neighboring Bay and Gulf counties last October, affected the Emerald Coast, it did do damage to the docks at Legendary Marina located at the foot of the Mid-Bay Bridge in Okaloosa County.

“We had some extensive storm damage due to Hurricane Michael and we are in turn coming back in and replacing and upgrading,” said marina manager Ray Allenbrand. “We’re coming in with all new floating docks.

"At the same time we had some damage to all our fuel system and all our dispensers that were on the docks," he added. "So we’re replacing and putting in a new state of the art fuel system at the same time.”

On Thursday morning, crews were busy on and off the water removing the damaged floating docks, while getting ready to put the new docks in place and pilings down.

“We’re putting a lot more into it now,” said Jeremy Holcomb, vice president of marina operations.

Holcomb said $970,000 is going toward damages that were a direct result of Michael.

He explained that during Michael the docks started “caterpillaring” from the wave action and bursting the rods and nuts off the docks.

“It broke the backs of each of the floats,” Holcomb said of the docks. “So when we came back in … the docks were without bones.”

Bellingham Marine out of Jacksonville came in and patched up a couple of the docks to get the marina back up and running immediately after the hurricane.

Allenbrand said they came in and fixed two docks, versus the floating docks.

Today they are still using what they call the A and W docks as a staging area for boats being launched.

A and W were busy Thursday morning as boats were being launched in preparation for this Saturday’s Emerald Coast Powerboat Poker Run, with eight checkpoints between Sandestin and Pensacola.

Not only is Legendary Marina getting new docks, but B, C and D docks will get an extension of about 40 feet, Allenbrand said.

“That should give us staging for a couple of boats on each side. It should be ... user friendly for everybody,” he added.

Instead of the angled docks, the new docks will be straight floating docks with four launch ramps.

The marina will also be getting 14 pump out stations.

“It’s been a work in progress,” Allenbrand said. “It takes a considerable amount of time to get all the drawings set up for the docks and then they have to be built.

“So it’s like a puzzle, (the prefabricated pieces) just lock together,” Allenbrand said.

Once the pieces are locked, they will run bolts through them and then set the pilings in the docks. The pilings are 50 feet in length.

“They will run those in the ground about 35 feet to keep them stable and in place,” Allenbrand said.

Right now the crew is working on disassembling the old docks and bringing in the new. Work began Monday and is expected to take about 30 to 40 days to complete.

Why wait until now to repair the docks? Holcomb pointed out three reasons.

First was getting the pile driver here.

Secondly, he said Bellingham had to custom form every one of the docks.

And thirdly is the impending north wind that will surely be here in a couple of months.

“Once we start seeing those north winds, they can’t do the job. It’s too dangerous. They need calm water,” Holcomb said.

Legendary Marina is home to 780 boats and “we’re expanding right now,” Holcomb said. “We’re full and we’ve been full for a long time.”

Last year, even with the disrepair, Legendary did 43,000 moves and launches.

“For this crew to pull that off and for our Legendary customers to be so patient … it has been a big deal and that’s not just lip service," Holcomb said. "That’s Jerry Holcomb saying thank you … for just being patient with us.”

When it’s all said and done, “it’s going to be awesome,” Holcomb said.

“We’re like kids in the candy store … its Christmas morning. We’ve been waiting for a long time,” Holcomb said.

“It’s going to be state of the art all the way around. A huge benefit to everybody that’s here,” Allenbrand added.