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DCA River Rescue Boat House

Location: Washington, D.C. Client: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

JMT designed a boathouse to store and support Potomac River emergency rescue boats.

JMT developed the complete design of a boathouse on the Potomac River at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The structure will house two rescue boats, commanded by the Airport Emergency Team, to assist in case a rescue on the Potomac River is needed.

The building consists of steel roofing on light gauge metal trusses, steel framed walls with composite siding and a storm protection system comprised of vinyl sheet piling and fiber-reinforced polymer beams. Walls and roof are supported by steel piles driven into the river bottom. The assembly contains a concrete floating dock system with steel guide-piles and an articulating aluminum gangway.

A protective breakwater has been constructed upstream from the boathouse to deflect floating debris and ice. It consists of vinyl sheeting on pressure treated timber beams and wood piles.

Access is provided by a pier comprised of composite decking on timber framing and wood piles. The pier slopes gently from the airport perimeter road down to a dock supporting the gangway to the boats.

JMT conducted research on historic water levels and considered wave climate and river current forces while designing the building piles and storm-face walls as well as the breakwater protection system. A bathymetric survey was performed to establish the best possible location in the river.

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