Bristol, Rhode island harbor rebuilds

Steeped in maritime history, Bristol, Rhode Island on Narragansett Bay is a popular New England boating destination. Culminating a five-year planning process, the town recently completed a large-scale expansion of its harbor with an SF Marina floating concrete breakwater and dock system as the project’s centerpiece.

After removing Bristol Harbor’s aging fixed wave fence, Newport, Rhode Island-based Reagan Marine Construction installed 12 SF Marina SF500 Series floating breakwater pontoons. Engineered to withstand hurricane-force wind and wave action, they have a coupling system that absorbs and distributes the stress loads to the concrete, not the wires. Virtually unsinkable, the 17′ W sections have a unique geometry that makes them exceptionally stable.

“The breakwater works great,” said Gregg Marsili, Bristol harbormaster. “Not only does it protect the marina, but also the shoreline, our other marina at Rockwell Park, the fuel pier on State Street and the Prudence Island ferry dock.”

The SF Marina pontoons are anchored with 48 Seaflex® 16-strand mooring hawsers. Designed to mitigate serious storm-caused wave action, they can withstand a drag force greater than 1.12 tons within 80% elongation, retracting back to their normal length when tension is eased. The environmentally-friendly anchoring solution provides significant stability to the structure by progressively dampening forces, even during the most severe of storm conditions.

The 786′ structure includes an interior dock array for a total of 34 tapered fingers. Bristol Harbor has 22 transient slips for boats up to 40′ in length, and an additional 500′ of dock space with a 12′ draft can accommodate vessels up to 200′ long. The marina provides electrical and potable water service and public Wi-Fi.

Voted’s Boaters’ Choice for four straight years, Bristol Harbor offers local and transient boat owners a wide range of amenities. The town is a short walk or water taxi ride from the harbor and teems with attractions such as the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, Herreshoff Marine Museum, numerous restaurants and the country’s oldest continuously celebrated Independence Day parade. Its website is