March 1977 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News

SNAME Pacific Northwest Section Reviews Design And Use Of Floating Breakwaters

More than 50 members and guests and 12 students attended the January meeting of the Pacific Northwest Section of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, held at the Officers Club, Pier 91, Seattle, Wash. The subject of the night's meeting was a paper entitled "Operational Experience with Floating Breakwaters," by Bruce Adee, assistant professor with the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan.

Mr. Adee stated that floating breakwaters for use as harbor protection were originally proposed in the early part of this century. During the past decade, circumstances have changed to the point where floating breakwaters are finding increasing application.

The major stimulus has been the increasing demand for pleasure boat marina facilities.

The paper compares construction cost, maintenance and life expectancy of fixed and floating breakwaters.

In his paper, Mr. Adee presented a discussion of the operation of a breakwater and a summary of various floating break- waters that have been completed, such as an A frame type, Alaska type, Friday Harbor, Holmes Harbor, Port Orchard and scrap tire.

This was followed by a discussion of breakwater performance. » The paper concludes by pointing out that it is important to be wary of the promotion of new solutions until they have been carefully tested and proven. The basic fact remains that to have an effect on the incident waves, the scale of the floating breakwater must be of the same order.

As floating breakwaters are employed in more exposed conditions than they have been thus far, their size and cost should be expected to increase. The problem which recurs most often with all the floating breakwaters is the problem of connections. These critical points are subject to millions of cycles over the course of a year. A great deal more effort needs to be spent in testing new materials and designs before this problem is completely solved.

Copies of the paper are available from the Pacific Northwest Section librarian, Mic Brachen, c / o Todd Shipyards, P.O. Box 3806, Seattle, Wash. 98124.

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