The Floating Platform: A look back

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20 Mar 2024 | COMMUNITY

The Floating Platform: A look back

//Story by Teo Jing Ting /Photos by PIONEER photographers

English 华文

As The Float @ Marina Bay makes way for the new NS Square, here's a look back at one of the coolest structures in the world.

It held the record for being the world's largest floating stage.

Built as an interim venue for National Day Parades (NDPs) while the National Stadium was being reconstructed, the first floating platform in the " was an engineering feat.

Using a pontoon-type "very large floating structure" technology, a total of 15 pontoons were fitted together to form a single platform which could stay afloat on the waters of Marina Bay.

Recruits gathering at The Float @ Marina Bay for their BMT graduation at the NS55 integrated parade in 2022. This was the last event held at the platform.

Since its completion in 2007, The Float @ Marina Bay has been used for countless symbolic celebrations and events – including National Day Parades (NDPs), Basic Military Training (BMT) graduation parades and even the opening ceremony of the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010!

In 2017, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced plans for the platform to be redeveloped and renamed as NS Square to serve as a tribute to Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen).

Featuring a NS-themed gallery, community sports facilities and a new public waterfront promenade, this new development promises plenty for the public to enjoy. NS Square will also be the primary venue for future NDPs.

Demolition of The Float @ Marina Bay began in 2023 and the NS Square is expected to be completed in 2027.

Take a trip down memory lane!

Bringing water elements to NDP

The chance to see the first NDP on water drew nearly 470,000 applications for just 54,000 tickets, even though its backdrop then was a less-than-scenic construction site instead of a beautifully-lit Marina Bay Sands.

With waters surrounding The Float @ Marina Bay, it was a chance for the NDP 2007 committee to showcase and bring together all three Services of the Singapore Armed Forces onto one stage.

Naval divers jumping of the CH-47F Chinook helicopter as part of the Helocast segment during NDP 2022.

From naval divers jumping off a CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the Red Lions jump to aerial displays to a showcase of military assets rolling into centre stage, the NDP performances became more and more spectacular each year.

The 2022 NDP marked The Float's last national-level celebration before it was demolished.

Entrusting the next generation to defend Singapore: An NSman of 906th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (left) handing over the state flag to a BMT graduand during the NS55 integrated parade.

The last parade at The Float

The last parade to be held at The Float was on 26 Nov 2022.

At the NS55 integrated parade, which marked 55 years of national service, about 4,000 recruits graduated from BMT and 350 NSmen stood down after completing their 10-year cycle.

The BMT graduands tossing their caps at the end of the parade.

During his speech at the parade, Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How noted that the parade was exceptionally meaningful as it was the last one to be held at The Float.

"This place does not only signify Singapore's appreciation of the contributions of our national servicemen. If you look across The Float at Singapore's skyline, you can see how much Singapore has developed, and how far we have come as a nation, and what is really at stake," said Mr Heng.

"NS Square's presence and prominence in Marina Bay will be a reflection of the central role that NS has played in bringing (the) peace and prosperity that has made all of this possible."

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