Jamestown-Scotland Ferry Dolphins

  • Location

    Jamestown, VA, USA
  • Year

  • Products

  • Owner

    Virginia DOT
  • Engineer

    Whitman Requardt & Associates
  • Contractor

    Marine Contracting Corp.


The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry is a free service operated by Virginia DOT. The operation transports vehicles to and from historic Jamestown across the James River to Surry. The ferry service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The ferry berthing operation relies on dolphins to navigate their way into the slip. Traditional “dolphins” are a cluster of timber piles that are bound together by bolts and wire rope. Due to strong winds and currents, the existing 37 and 61-timber pile dolphins at the Jamestown Ferry sustain frequent, hard impacts. These impacts degrade the strength of the dolphins by snapping the timber piles at the mudline. In some instances, the timber dolphins break completely and sink to the bottom of the river, making retrieval and disposal very difficult.

Due to the high cost associated with maintaining the timber dolphins, VDOT was looking for a durable, low maintenance alternative. The solution came in the form of 48” OD FRP composite monopiles. The superior strength and energy absorption of this monopile outperformed the entire cluster of timber piles. Each FRP dolphin was designed to dissipate 400 kip-ft of energy while deflecting up to 5’.

The FRP dolphins have been a resounding success by providing safer berthing operations and greatly reducing maintenance costs. VDOT plans to convert the remaining timber dolphins to FRP monopiles in the coming years.


Pile Qty/Size: 8ea, 48” OD x 2.0” wall x 102’ FRP Dolphins
Special Features: 54” OD HDPE abrasion resistant sleeve in the impact zone