Bristol, Rhode Island, on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay, seventeen miles north of Newport (a major contender for the title of sailing capital of the world), is named after Bristol, England. On land, which was once owned by the Wampanoag, before the arrival of white settlers in the late seventeenth century, this quintessential New England waterfront town is home to the oldest Fourth of July celebration in America. Its well-protected natural harbour, together with plenty of old buildings, churches, mills, ship-building facilities, shops, fine restaurants, and stunning colonial homes, attract tourists and transient yachts from near and far.
In a move to offer additional resident and non-resident/transient berths, Bristol was looking to expand its Church Street Dock and at the same time replace an old timber wave-fence with a new floating concrete wave attenuator. The 240-metre-long breakwater, over 5 metres wide and crucial to the entire project, was planned and built by SF Marina in Norfolk, Virginia. The twelve pontoons, coupled through a patented system that absorbs and distributes the stress loads, are anchored with 48 Seaflex® 16-strand mooring hawsers. The new breakwater not only protects the marina from hurricanes, tropical storms, and nor’easters, it also offers the infrastructure needed by a growing number of large, up to 60-metre-long, transient yachts. More importantly, it allows Bristol to enjoy the economic vitality brought by the visitors, without the parking problems and traffic congestion usually associated with visitor flows.
The expanded Bristol Harbor Marina was opened in June 2022.