Ports, Harbours and Small Craft Berthing Facilities

Engineering and Design of Military Ports

TM 5-850-1
February 1983

This manual establishes criteria for guidance of Corps of Engineers personnel in the planning and design of proposed military ports. It includes site selection and evaluation, layout of harbour facilities, coastal protection methods, pier and wharf layout and design, fender systems, mooring devices, dockside utilities, and cargo handling facilities. Based on current trends in the shipping industry, it is anticipated that up to 90 percent of all cargo arriving in future Theatres of Operation (TO) will be by containers. Basic considerations in container terminal design, storage and marshalling areas, and container handling facilities are also included. This manual does not apply to ammunition-loading terminals.


Layout and Design Guidelines for Marina Berthing Facilities

California Department of Boating and Waterways


The primary purpose of the Layout and Design GUIDELINES for Marina Berthing Facilities is to provide technical assistance and direction in the planning, design and construction of marina berthing facilities funded under the various Local Assistance and Capital Outlay Programs administered by the Department of Boating and Waterways, Resources Agency, State of California. The GUIDELINES address typical conditions and are not intended to be all-inclusive or absolute. Unique site conditions and circumstances may require special analysis, applications and design considerations not addressed herein.

dscn0198The information in the GUIDELINES is useful for recreational boating facility issues in general, and will be helpful to anyone involved in the development of both new and altered boating facilities.

The GUIDELINES do not address site selection considerations for proposed new marinas, site considerations for expansion of existing ones, environmental practices, fish cleaning stations, boat engine oil recovery facilities, recycling, or permitting issues. Those matters are beyond the scope of this document.

Literature Review of Rock Properties for Analysis of Navigation Structures Founded on Rock

Carl P. Benson
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
October 1986

A review of behavioural rock properties used for input to the finite element method are summarized. Rock properties presented in the literature were primarily obtained from laboratory specimens. Methods to determine applicable field properties via testing, calculations and empirical correlations are included. Suggested behavioural properties of the structural concrete-to-rock interface are proposed. Specific property values, resulting from the literature review, are presented as input for a finite element parametric evaluation of navigation structures.

Military Harbors and Coastal Facilities

Unified Facilities Criteria UFC 4-150-06
12 December 2001

Supersedes the following documents (those with a hyperlink are available):


The objective of this document is to cite and supplement existing government and commercial standards for design and construction of harbor and coastal facilities. It serves as planning, engineering and design guidance for professional facility planners, designers, constructors, and maintainers, including Navy personnel and Government contractors. Designers and planners will use this handbook for individual project planning, for preparing engineering documentation, and for preparing contract documents for construction and repair. This document extensively references the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Coastal Engineering Manual (CEM). (see above for download)

The purpose of UFC 4-150-06 is to provide adequate harbour and dredging project criteria, design and maintenance guidance, and relevant lessons learned with respect to shore infrastructure. This document also provides the complete criteria and guidance package needed by appropriate end users. To the extent practical, it addresses the range of harbour and dredging criteria needed at state-side and overseas military installations.

A harbour is a water area bounded by natural features or man-made structures, or a combination of both, which affords safe moorings and protection for vessels during storms. It may serve purely as a refuge, or it may provide accommodations for various water to water or water to land activities, such as resupply, refuelling, repairs, or the transfer of cargo and personnel. When areas of a harbour or its entire expanse are used to transfer commercial cargo or passengers, it is referred to as a “port.” This definition is commonly used to designate the major commercial cargo-transfer facilities throughout the world. When a harbour, or portions of it, are utilized by the military services for similar functions, it is designated as a “military harbour.” Military harbours generally include the land-side areas that provide functional support to water-borne naval activity. In these cases, they are variously termed as: naval base, naval station, naval depot, and naval shipyard, depending upon the support activity involved.

The chief objects in the design and construction of harbours are: (a) to obtain a relatively large area of water, of adequate depth at all stages of the tide, so sited as to provide shelter for ships; and (b) to provide for transfer of cargo and passengers between ships and shore locations and facilities.

Design: Piers and Wharves

UFC 4-152-01
28 July 2005


  • MIL-HDBK-1025/1, 30 OCTOBER 1987 (also available)
  • NAVFAC DM-25.1, NOVEMBER 1980


This handbook provides basic design guidance for pier and wharf construction. It has been developed from extensive re-evaluation of facilities and is intended for use by experienced architects, engineers, and facility planners. The contents cover piers and wharves, including such considerations as overall dimensions and clearances, live load requirements, structural design, fender systems, deck fittings, separators, access facilities, and associated pier and wharf structures.

Piers and wharves provide a transfer point for cargo and/or passengers between water carriers and land transport. Where service involves the movement of large volumes of both cargo and passengers, separate facilities should be provided for each. Where one service is subsidiary to another, consideration should be given to the feasibility of accommodating both services at one facility.

Special note to Lord of the Rings fans: For MIL-HDBK-1025/1, the title as shown in the document itself is Piers and Wharfs, although the plural wharves is frequently used in the text. This has a parallel with J.R.R. Tolkien’s use of the plural dwarves for the singular dwarf, even though most dictionaries tell us that dwarfs is correct. Shortly after his return from service in World War I, Tolkien worked as an editor for the Oxford English Dictionary. When confronted with the fact that the plural he used was contrary to the Oxford English Dictionary, he shot back, “I wrote the Oxford English Dictionary.”

For our own crack at fantasy–with numerous references to piers, wharves, and other aspects of marine engineering in a more subtropical kind of place–click here.

Port Construction and Repair

FM 5-850
12 December 1980

This manual is a guide and basic reference for engineer units building and rehabilitating ship-unloading and cargo-handling facilities in the theaters of operations (TO). It includes port planning and layout and construction of freed and floating wharves to support both conventional and container ships. It covers the special problems of expedient construction of ports and railways on wharves and piers. The information concerning facilities for handling and shipping cargo in containers represents current development. The manual covers many techniques still in the concept stage. The user is cautioned to get the latest information before proceeding with plans. The material applies to both nuclear and nonnuclear warfare; however, in nuclear warfare, port construction would be confined to small ports not offering strategic targets to the enemy.

Weight Handling Equipment

6 March 1998

This handbook addresses the most prevalent varieties of cranes within the inventories of U.S. Navy shore facilities. There still remain many less common and some unique, one-of-a-kind cranes in service, which fall outside the practical scope of this handbook. The period of crane design extends from contemporary to the early 1940’s. The individual varieties of cranes included in this handbook are further grouped as “older” and “newer” types and as standard commercial and custom (built-up) designs. The handbook begins with a non-technical description of the selected varieties of cranes and progresses to rigorous engineering methodology and design requirements for the main assemblies and their component parts. It is intended for the use of engineers proficient in the technical disciplines relevant to cranes, but not necessarily expert in all phases of crane design.