Mystic Seaport Lift Dock Replacement Honored

Chalk up another award for McLaren Engineering Group (McLaren) and its Marine Division.

The Mystic Seaport Lift Dock Replacement was recently voted the 2008 Project of the Year for projects under $1 million by the Pile Drivers Contractors Association (PDCA), and McLaren was involved in the design of piles for the new Lift Dock. In fact, McLaren was intimately involved with the structural and geotechnical engineering work required for construction of the Dock, which was completed in 2007.


McLaren provided structural and geotechnical engineering for construction of a new lift dock at Mystic Seaport.

The pile design was heavily influenced by the size of the ships to be docked and the soil quality on site. After McLaren designed the nominal dock lifting capacity to be approximately 466 tons, it then designed the pile supports, which required Wave Equation Analysis in combination with a Pile Driving Analyzer for dynamic testing of the pile capacities during driving.

McLaren first designed the demotion of the existing structure and dredging operations, where it was determined that sediment beneath the lift dock was contaminated and had to be buried in an upland disposal site on the Seaport's property. The cleanest soil from the site was used as a cap to cover the contaminated dredge material. The dredging was designed to approximately a 26-foot depth to meet the depth requirements for lifting the largest ships.

The Mystic Seaport Museum owns and operates the lift dock to facilitate rehabilitation of 350-ton Charles W. Morgan, a historic wooden whaling ship, along with numerous other historic sea-faring vessels. The original dock was built in 1970, and in 2003 a structural inspection revealed significant deterioration, rendering it inadequate to hoist their largest vessels.

McLaren was thus enlisted to provide marine, structural, and geotechnical engineering services to build a new facility to meet the needs of the seaport.

Through the Project of the Year Award, the PDCA has the distinguished opportunity to continue its long-standing and consistent commitment to recognize those PDCA members who demonstrate excellence in the process of providing solutions, services and products to the needs of the deep foundation and earth retention environment.