Marina News March 2021
Island Cove Marina – The freezing temperatures caused us to shut off the water for a couple of days, but everything is back up and running again. We fixed the ceiling damage from hurricane Sally in the club house. We have preliminary approval from the Army Corps of Engineers for our permit to expand the marina. We will also require permits from DEP and the County. If all goes well, we should have permits in a couple of months. We started this thing in 2018 so needless to say things have not gone well but we are hopeful. Once we have permits it will take at least 4 months to build the docks. So best case for new docks is August.
Palm Harbor Marina –The curtains are installed on the dock for the gazebo. Our canvas guy got COVID-19 which delayed the installation of the curtains. We have replaced the COX Cable modem with a new device. COX is upgrading its system and we needed to make an equipment change. We replaced the Wi-Fi nodes with high-speed nodes. Everything seems to be working correctly now.
Yacht Harbor Marina – We will be replacing all the old, faded signs with new ones. We are working towards our Clean Marina certification. We did have to shut the water off for the freezing weather which in turn closes the rest rooms. Unfortunately, we must shut off the water lines to the rest rooms whenever the temperature drops below freezing. The fence will be repaired or replaced as soon as we can get a contractor to start. We will be replacing the mini blinds in the restrooms this month.
Wi-Fi – Today Wi-Fi signal is an important amenity at any Marina. It is used for not only email and internet searches but also for movies and entertainment. Wi-Fi in your home generally works very well because Wi-Fi is designed for short distances with multiple devices but with only a few simultaneous users. At a Marina, the environment is a bit more challenging. We have many users spread out over a relatively large footprint all using large amounts of data at the same time. We compensate for this by using high speed, high volume internet services which are considerably more expensive them typical home service. We then broadcast the signal with high power nodes with a range of about 500’ with an omnidirectional antenna and about 800’ with a directional antenna. We have additional nodes placed on the docks to cover the area in what is called a mesh. What people do not often realize is that phones, tablets, and laptops generally transmit at about a 100mw of power for Wi-Fi which limits there range considerably. The range of your device is usually less than 100’ especially if the signal must travel threw fiberglass bulk heads and hulls. So even though you may see plenty of Wi-Fi signal on your device your device may not be powerful enough to reach the closest node. This is problem number one.
Problem number 2 is operational speed. Every time we boost the signal through a node the speed in cut about in half. So, if we start out at a speed of 50 mbps, which is fast, by the time we go out 2 nodes wirelessly we are at about 12 mbps which is a bit slow. Couple this with 8 or 9 people on NetFlix at the same time and it can be unusable. So even if you have a good modem speed, the lack of speed at the node can shut you down. The nodes are limited by the speed they run at. We have recently switched out our older nodes with newer “high speed” nodes. We currently use CloudTrax OM2P-HS nodes in the mesh. The high-speed data we currently buy from COX Cable is now faster then our nodes can handle.
We are looking for new technology to increase our speed and reliability. Like all communication technology todays fastest and best is usually the most expensive and will become old and slow in only a few years. Our next generation system will have larger, faster, and more powerful main nodes. From those nodes we will hardwire smaller nodes to create the mesh. By hard wiring the nodes we will not loose speed like we currently do with wireless propagation. Even the newest technology will not solve all the problems. Personal devices will still be limited by there weak signal strength. To deal with this problem we suggest you invest in a Wi-Fi signal extender for the boat. They range in price from about $40 to $200 depending on model. Even some of the top 10 best names are under $100. The Wi-Fi extender boosts the signal from your personal device to reach the nodes in our mesh. We recommend anyone that wants to use Wi-Fi on the boat purchase a Wi-Fi booster or extender. Plug it in on the boat near where you intend to use your device. Even at home the problem with bad Wi-Fi signal is usually your personal device, phone, tablet, laptop, etc. trying to send data requests at only100mw of power through walls.
In conclusion. As we continue to upgrade our existing Wi-Fi system and look at new replacement technology for the near future, a Wi-Fi signal extender will help solve Wi-Fi signal problems now and after we upgrade and replace the system. New 5G cellular data may someday eliminate the need for Wi-Fi altogether, but that future is still unclear. One thing is for sure, no matter how fast the data flows consumers will want more.
March Events – still not much going on
March 17, 2021- 2021 St. Paddy's Day Pub Crawl-Location: Various Locations
Old Marina News February 2021
Island Cove Marina – We have replaced all of the dock lights that were not working. The curtains are up and the propane heater is on the lower deck in working order with gas. We still intend to expand Island Cove Marina with additional floating docks. We are currently awaiting approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. Once we have all the permits it will take about 4 months to complete construction. Some electric meters will be replaced this month.
Palm Harbor Marina – The new sign has been installed at the entrance. The curtains are being installed on the dock for the gazebo. Our canvas guy got COVID-19 which delayed the installation of the curtains. We finally had to pick them up and install them ourselves. We have had some intermittent problems with the Wi-Fi. COX Cable came out a couple of times to take care of the problem. We finally had to replace one of our nodes that was apparently damaged in Hurricane Sally. Everything seems to be working correctly now.
Yacht Harbor Marina – We have completed most of the repairs with the exception of a couple of bent cleats on the dock and or course the parking lot fence. We have a couple of quotes and we are on the list with two fence companies for repair. Unfortunately, both of the fence companies are booked up until May. The fence will be repaired or replaced as soon as we can get a contractor to start.
Derelict Vessels – We still have several boats that are sunk in the Bayou as well as several that are moored out in the Bayou. FWC and other local Law Enforcement agencies are working on removal of the vessels. Like many things on the water, it seems to take a lot of time. Citations and even arrests have been made and some of the boats have been removed. Finding the legal owner of the boats has proven to be problematic. Mooring out on anchor itself is not illegal. If you are anchored out some basics are required like current registrations, insurance, and documentation, anchor lights, safety equipment, and of course the vessel must be seaworthy and move under its own power. Beware of some of the those moored out on the hook. Those who live on derelict vessels may have intensions closer to pirates then to cruisers just passing through. If you see something please say something.
Marina Occupancy – We are actually 100% occupied in all of our slips over 27’ in length. Even if you see an empty slip it is rented as of now. We have a couple of customers leasing slips while their boats are still in the boat yard getting work finished up, and new customers that are bringing their boats in from out of town. We expect to have a great boating season this year and as always please let us know if anything needs our attention.
February Events –
February 6, 2021 - Mardi Gras Lighted Boat Parade Location: Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, 7 Casino Beach Boardwalk Pensacola Beach, FL 32561 (850) 932-1500 Time: 6:00 PM
February 13, 2021 - Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade Location: Pensacola Mardi Gras Palafox St Pensacola, FL 32502 Time: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
February 16, 2021 - Pensacola Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday Priscus Celebration Location: Pensacola Mardi Gras Palafox St Pensacola, FL 32502 Visit Web Site
Pensacon 2021 Canceled