SFO Marine Emergency Response Facility

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Waterfront environments can scuttle the performance of many painting products on metal surfaces, which is why architects with the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) specified high-performance coating systems from Tnemec for a $5.2 million boathouse for rescue vessels.

Located on the bayside of the SFO property, the Marine Emergency Response Facility (MERF) is the first of its kind at a U.S. airport on the West Coast. The state-of-the-art facility houses jet skis, scuba gear, emergency vessels, medical equipment and a self-contained command center with electronic links to other emergency service facilities and airports.SFO Marine Emergency Response Facility Image 1SFO Marine Emergency Response Facility Image 2

The location of the MERF on the waterfront was not conducive to applying protective coatings onsite due to the weather and salt air, according to Wendy Amos of San Francisco-based Amos And Associates. “The architects required the coatings on interior steel to be shop-applied because of their environmental concerns with applying coatings near or over the water,” she explained.

Specifications required interior steel to be prepared in accordance with SSPC-SP6/NACE No. 3 Commercial Blast Cleaning and shop-primed with Series 90-97 Tneme-Zinc, an advanced technology zinc-rich urethane coating applied at 2.5 to 3.5 mils dry film thickness (DFT).

“We have used Tnemec-Zinc as our high performance primer of choice for several years,” explained Nick Joaquin, Senior Estimator, R&B Protective Coatings. “We are always delighted when it is called out in the specifications, which is quite often. That was the case with the SFO Boathouse.”

An intermediate coat of Series L69 Hi-Build Epoxoline II, a polyamidoamine epoxy coating, was also shop-applied at 3.0 to 4.0 mils DFT, followed by finish coat of Series 1075 Endura-Shield II, a high-build aliphatic acrylic polyurethane coating applied at 2.0 to 5.0 mils DFT. Both the intermediate and topcoat are highly resistant to abrasion, wet conditions, corrosive fumes and exterior weathering.

Interior galvanized steel was prepared in accordance with SSPC-SP16 Brush-off Blast Cleaning of Non-Ferrous Metals. The steel was primed with Series L69 and topcoated with Series 750 UVX, an advanced-technology polyurethane finish coat that offers superior color and gloss retention for long-term aesthetics.

The exterior galvanized metal guard rails were coated with Series 135 Chembuild, a high-build modified polyamidoamine epoxy primer, and a finish coat of Series 1078 Fluoronar Metallic, a high-solids fluoropolymer coating that offers outstanding color and gloss retention, even in the most severe exposures.

project information

Project Location

San Francisco, California

Project Completion Date

August 2012


San Francisco International Airport, Architecture Department


San Francisco International Airport, Engineering Department

General Contractor

Schembri Construciton Company, San Francisco, California

Field Applicator

Jerry Thompson & Sons, Inc., Richmond, California

Shop Applicator

R&B Protective Coatings, Linden, California