San Francisco marina adds security, safety to its scenery
- By Samuel Shanes
- Jul 01, 2012
Emeryville Marina is located on 14 acres of land that extend out into
San Francisco Bay. It is a popular local attraction with 381 permitted
boat slips and hundreds of visitors every day. Built in 2005, the
marina is run by Marina International, which owns 30 additional
marinas around the country.
Don Gussler, a San Francisco-based boater with more than 30 years of experience,
was hired as the Emeryville Marina harbor master and designated to create
the marina’s safety and security plan.
Gussler was convinced the marina needed an emergency tower and, having previously
worked with Talk-A-Phone, he knew that the company’s products would
be a perfect fit for the marina. He had witnessed the durability and reliability of
Talk-a-Phone’s emergency towers firsthand during several hurricanes and various
emergencies at other marinas.
“In the early 2000s, there was a series of marina fires across the country, and I
felt it was important to have quick access to fire suppression from the city of Emeryville,”
Gussler said. “While on the marina, a boater may not have access to his
or her cellphone during an emergency. They also may have to run from their current
location. The Talk-A-Phone units give boaters an alternate and easy means of
communication with local authorities.”
Emeryville Marina installed the emergency phones and towers along its main
dock walkway, making sure the units were visible to every boater and visitor in and
out of the marina.
Because the emergency phones needed to be installed on docks hundreds of
feet out into the bay, Gussler initially believed that the installation would be difficult.
To Gussler’s surprise, the towers were easy to install and integrate with the
power and communication infrastructure already in place at the marina. The Emeryville police and fire departments also had no trouble setting up the towers to
dial their call and dispatch centers.
It wasn’t long after the installation that the emergency phone towers were put to
use. The marina had two boat fires in short succession, and the phone units proved
invaluable. In both situations the boater did not have access to a cellphone and had
to activate the emergency towers for assistance. The activation of the emergency
phone towers allowed the Emeryville Fire Department to act quickly and prevent
the fires from spreading to other boats in the marina.
Many marina boaters appreciate the fact that they can contact the Emeryville
Fire Department so quickly.
“We tried to make sure that we put these units in the central dock run,” Gussler
said. “The reason for this was to make sure that everyone had reasonable and
quick access. Even in the electronic-connections world we live in today, it’s so
much simpler to have these units. For our customers, one of the benefits of these
systems with concern to a fire is that it gets them away from the boats.
“Boat fires can spread fast, and the risk of injury and damage to surrounding
areas is high. Rather than having our customers sit there trying to put out a fire,
we encourage them to use a Talk-A-Phone unit and get professional help. The
towers also give our boaters a peace of mind knowing that someone is there ready
to provide assistance.”
San Francisco Bay’s harsh environment presents many challenges for the installation
of emergency phone towers. Every year, the towers are examined and tested
to make sure they are working properly. The units have to withstand high humidity,
saltwater, severe storms and physical abuse on a daily basis.
“The emergency towers have always functioned correctly and don’t require any
maintenance,” Gussler said. “When we installed the docks, we put in a conduit to
carry the phone lines. We test the units periodically, and we never have problems.”
Several new docks are currently under construction at the marina, and the installation
of more Talk-A-Phone emergency phone towers is accompanying the
construction. The plan is to place the units in strategic locations across the new
docks, which will be located at the far south end of the Emeryville Marina central
dock run. Due to the docks’ outlying position, quick and safe access to emergency
communication at these locations is paramount.
“They will allow the boaters on the far end of our marina quick and easy access
to emergency personnel,” Gussler said. “You won’t have to have a boat docked at
our central dock run in order to have quick access to the emergency towers. All the
major areas of our marina will be covered.”
Gussler and the Emeryville Marina boating community are happy to have the
safety blanket the towers provide. The blue-light strobe on top of every unit allows
boaters to identify the emergency phones’ location, and their bright blue color
blends in nicely with the surrounding bay. At night, the blue lights act as a deterrent
to crime for the marina and surrounding property. Boaters know that when
they see a blue light they are in a safe area.
Gussler noted that the Talk-A-Phone towers have increased business at the marina.
“The emergency communications units are a good sales tool because it shows
our customers what to do, how to do it and that we spent the time to put in a system
to help protect them,” Gussler said. “We have many individuals
who live here on their boats at the marina. For them, knowing
that another form of communication is just a push of a button
away is very comforting. They feel safe—and that is one of the
reasons why our marina is so popular.”
This article originally appeared in the Security Products Magazine - July 2012 issue of Security Today.