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General Works on Marine Construction and Coastal Engineering

Coastal Engineering Manual

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers EM 1110-2-1100
30 April 2002
Updated to 28 September 2011

The CEM contains two major subdivisions: Science-based and Engineering-based.

  • The science parts include “Coastal Hydrodynamics,” “Coastal Sediment Processes,” and “Coastal Geology.” These provide the foundation upon which the engineering parts are based. The Coastal Hydrodynamics Part is organized to lead the reader from the fundamental principles of wave theory and ocean wave generation through the process of wave transformation as the wave form approaches and reacts with the shore. Water-level variations and currents are included in this part. The Coastal Sediment Processes part includes chapters on long shore and cross-shore transport as well as chapters on shelf, and wind transport processes. The Coastal Geology Part includes chapters on geomorphology, coastal classification, and morphodynamic processes on sandy shores.
  • The two Engineering-based parts of the CEM (“Coastal Project Planning and Design” and “Design of Coastal Project Elements”) are oriented toward a project-type approach, rather then the individual structure design approach which characterized the SPM.


  • Shore Protection Manual, 1984
  • EC 1110-2-289, 30 September 1996
  • EC 1110-2-292, 31 March 1998
  • EM 1110-2-1004, 30 November 1993
  • EM 1110-2-1412, 15 April 1986
  • EM 1110-2-1414, 7 July 1989
  • EM 1110-2-1502, 20 August 1992
  • EM 1110-2-1616, 31 January 1991
  • EM 1110-2-1617, 20 August 1992
  • EM 1110-2-1618, 28 April 1995
  • EM 1110-2-2904, 8 August 1986
  • EM 1110-2-3301, 31 May 1995.

The purpose of the CEM is to provide a single, comprehensive technical document that incorporates tools and procedures to plan, design, construct, and maintain coastal projects. This engineering manual will include the basic principles of coastal processes, methods for computing coastal planning and design parameters, and guidance on how to formulate and conduct studies in support of coastal flooding, shore protection, and navigation projects. The CEM is intended to provide broader coverage of all aspects of coastal engineering than the present SPM. Sections include navigation and harbour design, dredging and disposal, structure repair and rehabilitation, wetland and low-energy shore protection, risk analysis, field instrumentation, numerical simulation, the engineering process, and other topics.

Coastal Geology

EM 1110-2-1810
31 January 1995

The purpose of this manual is to provide an overview of coastal geology and a discussion of data sources and study methods applicable to coastal geological field studies. “Coastal geology” is defined as the science of landforms, structures, rocks, and sediments with particular emphasis on the coastal zone. Material in this manual has been adapted from textbooks and technical literature from the fields of geology, geomorphology, geophysics, oceanography, meteorology, and geotechnical engineering. The practising scientist involved in coastal projects is expected to be able to obtain a general overview of most aspects of coastal geology and to be able to refer to the reference list for additional information on specific topics.

The intended audience is engineers, geologists, and oceanographers who have had limited experience in the coastal zone and need to become more familiar with the many unique and challenging problems posed by the dynamic and intricate interplay among land, sea, and air that occur at the coast. “Coastal zone” is loosely defined as the region between the edge of the continental shelf and the landward limit of storm wave activity. The definition is applicable to the edge of oceans, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries – effectively any shore that is influenced by waves.

Concepts for Functional Restoration of Barrier Islands

Julie Dean Rosati
September 2009

This Coastal and Hydraulics Engineering Technical Note (CHETN) presents guidance for functional restoration of barrier islands. The concept of functional restoration is introduced here as an engineering and ecological design such that a barrier island can perform as a wave attenuator, storm surge buffer, and ocean boundary for an estuary, bay, and mainland over the defined project lifetime. Ecological design is required as part of the restoration to minimize initial nourishment losses and to ensure that environmental goals are met. Functional restoration allows for the possibility that a restored island could migrate alongshore and cross-shore, and possibly over wash to some extent as long as it continued reducing the risk of damage to the estuary, bay, and mainland. This CHETN reviews existing knowledge on the benefits of barrier islands and presents guidance for functional restoration.

Conventional Underwater Construction and Repair Techniques

May 1995


This document is primarily intended as a guide for the Navy’s Underwater Construction Teams (UCTs) in conducting conventional underwater construction, maintenance, and repair. It is based on experience gained during UCT operations conducted world-wide and on relevant commercial practices. The Conventional Underwater Construction and Repair Techniques Manual was first published in 1993 and since then has received wide distribution. The seven chapters and appendixes contained herein cover project preparation and documentation; site survey techniques; maintenance, repair, and installation methods; tool selection; and pertinent technical references and sources of related equipment and materials.

Design: Dockside Utilities for Ship Service

UFC 4-150-02
12 May 2003

Supersedes MIL-HDBK-1025/2, May 1988.

This UFC provides design criteria and guidance in the design of utility systems for piers, wharves, and drydocks.

Engineering for Prefabricated Construction of Navigation Projects

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EM 1110-2-2611
1 February 2004

Navigation projects have traditionally been constructed within coffer-dams, which have often been over-topped during flood events. Also, construction and maintenance of coffer-dams have been time consuming and costly. Technology exists, largely practised in the construction of bridges and offshore oil facilities, that will permit some navigation projects to be constructed without coffer-dams. This can be achieved by preparing foundations underwater, pre-casting/prefabricating the shells of major concrete components off-site, placing these thin pre-cast elements on the prepared foundation, and then filling them with concrete. Other options include the use of floating segments that are delivered to the site afloat and remain afloat such as floating guide walls. Use of this technology can have benefits related to cost savings, rapid completion of construction, fewer delays due to weather or water conditions, less interference with existing traffic, and less environmental impact. Several USACE navigation projects have been or are currently being designed to use these construction methods.

Environmental Engineering Series:

EM 1110-2-1202, 29 May 1987
EM 1110-2-1204, 10 July 1989
EM 1110-2-1205, 15 November 1989
EM 1110-2-1206, 31 October 1993

These manuals discuss the environmental engineering aspects for a wide variety of marine projects. They are divided according to project type.

River and Tidal Hydraulics

River Hydraulics
EM 1110-2-1416, 15 October 1993

This manual presents the techniques and procedures that are used to investigate and resolve both river engineering and analysis issues and the associated data requirements. It also provides guidance for the selection of appropriate methods to be used for planning and conducting the studies. Documented herein are past experiences that provide valuable information for detecting and avoiding problems in planning, performing, and reporting future studies. The resolution of river hydraulics issues always requires prediction of one or more flow parameters; be it stage (i.e., water surface elevation), velocity, or rate of sediment transport. This manual presents pragmatic methods for obtaining data and performing the necessary computations; it also provides guidance for determining the components of various types of studies.

Tidal Hydraulics
EM 1110-2-1607, 15 March 1991

This manual provides design guidance for the development or improvement of navigation and flood control projects in estuaries. Factors are presented that should be considered in providing safe and efficient navigation facilities with least construction and maintenance costs and/or providing protection from design floods. Considerations for preventing damage to the environmental quality of the estuary are also presented. The design engineer is expected to adopt the general guidance presented in this manual to specific projects. Deviations from this guidance are acceptable if adequately substantiated. It should be noted that coastal structures and approach channels are not included in this manual.

Hyperbaric Facilitites

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July 1982

General guidance relating to the design of hyperbaric facilities is presented for use by experienced engineers and architects and members of the Navy Diving Community who require information in this very specialized area. Design guidance is provided on pressure chambers and vessels, appurtenances, foundations piping systems, life support systems, wet pots, fire protection systems, electrical systems, communication systems, control systems, system cleaning, lubricants, sealants, and materials.

Nonlinear Wave Forces on Large Ocean Structures

Erick T. Huang
NCEL TN-1857
April 1993

This study explores the significance of second-order wave excitations on a large pontoon and tests the feasibility of
reducing a nonlinear free surface problem by perturbation expansions. A simulation model has been developed based on the perturbation expansion technique to estimate the wave forces. The model uses a versatile finite element procedure for the solution of the reduced linear boundary value problems. This procedure achieves a fair compromise between computation costs and physical details by using a combination of 2D and 3D elements. A simple hydraulic model test was conducted to observe the wave forces imposed on a rectangle box by Cnoidal waves in shallow water. The test measurements are consistent with the numerical predictions by the simulation model. This result shows favorable support to the perturbation approach for estimating the nonlinear wave forces on shallow draft vessels. However, more sophisticated model tests are required for a full justification. Both theoretical and experimental results show profound second-order forces that could substantially impact the design of ocean facilities.

Reanalysis of Wave Runup on Structures and Beaches

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Technical Paper 78-2
March 1978

Published and unpublished results of tests of monochromatic wave runup were reanalyzed for both smooth and rough structure surfaces . The rough-surfaced structures included breakwaters and rip-rapped slopes, and both quarry stone and concrete armor units.

Wave runup theory is discussed briefly and an empirical equation is given or runup on smooth slopes from waves which break on the structure slope. Example problems and methods of data analysis, together with general observations , are given.

Smooth-slope runup results for both breaking and non-breaking waves are presented in a set of curves similar to but revised from those in the Shore Protection Manual (SPM.) The curves are for structure slopes fronted by horizontal and on 1 on 10 bottom slopes. The range of values of \frac{d_s}{H'_o} was extended to \frac{d_s}{H'_o} = 8 ; relative depth \frac{d_s}{H'_o} is important even for \frac{d_s}{H'_o} < 3 for waves which do not break on the structure slope. Rough-slope results are presented in similar curves if sufficient data were available. Otherwise, results are given as values of r, which is the ratio of rough-slope runup to smooth-slope runup. Scale -effect in runup is discussed.

Seawall and Bulkhead Series

Seawalls, Bulkheads and Quaywalls
30 September 1988

Superseding DM-25.4, July 1981

Design of Coastal Revetments, Seawalls and Bulkheads
EM 1110-2-1614
30 June 1995


Basic criteria for the design of seawalls, bulkheads, and quaywalls is presented for use by experienced engineers. The contents cover general topics including selection factors, as well as detailed design considerations for various types of seawalls, bulkheads, and quaywalls. A discussion of special considerations is included.

  • A seawall is a soil retaining or armouring structure whose purpose is to defend a shoreline against wave attack. It differs from a breakwater in its capacity as a soil retention structure. Seawalls are forms of shore protection and are not intended for use as berthing facilities
  • A bulkhead is a soil retaining wall structure comprised of vertically-spanning sheet piles or other flexural members. Bulkheads derive their stability through mobilization of passive earth pressures between the mud line and embedded tip, and, in most cases, from a lateral restraint system installed between Mean Low Water (MLW) and top of the wall top. Bulkheads are installed to establish and maintain elevated grades along shorelines in relatively sheltered areas not subject to appreciable wave attack, and are commonly used as berthing facilities.
  • A quaywall is a gravity wall structure having the dual function of providing shore protection against light to moderate wave attack and a berthing face for ships. Its function is similar to a bulkhead but should be chosen when overall height requirements or wave environment severity exceed the practical capabilities of typical bulkhead constructions. Quaywalls differ from bulkheads and wall-type seawalls in that they do not necessarily retain a soil backfill.
  • Revetments are generally constructed of durable stone or other materials that will provide sufficient armouring for protected slopes. They consist of an armour layer, filter layer(s), and toe protection. The armour layer may be a random mass of stone or concrete rubble or a well-ordered array of structural elements that interlock to form a geometric pattern. The filter assures drainage and retention of the underlying soil. Toe protection is needed to provide stability against undermining at the bottom of the structure.

Technology Development Plan for Design Guidelines for Wave-Induced Hydrodynamic Loading on Structures

J.M. Dummer, A.E. Bertsche and R.T. Hudspeth
Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory
Report TN-1690
October 1982/September 1983

This technololgy development plan reviews the role of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) in developing technology for the design of ocean structures subject to wave-induced hydrodynamic loading. Navy design requirements for ocean facilities and the technological deficiencies requiring further development to make these designs both reliable and economical are discussed. Specifically, the topic of wave force prediction technology is reviewed, and a summary of previous and current NAVFAC and Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory wave forces research is provided. A plan is outlined describing the development process necessary to achieve a comprehensive set of design guidelines for both rigid and compliant structures. Major subjects identified for inclusion in the proposed design guidelines include Morison equation force coefficient selection, Morison equation deterministic static analysis, Morison equation dynamic random dynamic analysis, diffraction theory analysis, combined large and small body loading analysis, and risk analysis for Navy ocean structures. A discussion of each of the topics pertinent to these major items is provided.

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