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Wave Forces on Vertical Coastal Breakwaters
Wave Forces on Vertical Coastal Breakwaters



Date & Time


Available on Demand?




This course describes the hydraulic design / analysis of vertical wall coastal structures, especially breakwaters and seawalls. Methods described will be illustrated by two case studies of breakwaters at Wick (failed) and Dover. The course introduces the hydraulic effects of tides, surges and waves with examples on wave generation, encounter probabilities, and depth-limited wave heights. It is appreciated that most engineers will use numerical modelling methods for their main calculations, but the emphasis here is to demonstrate and apply simple ‘sanity check’ empirical methods to give the key parameters.

The course describes methods to calculate wave forces on example breakwaters or seawalls and to use those on two real examples. It follows closely on courses given by Professor Allsop at ESITC Caen, at NCCR in India, and previously at HR Wallingford, and develops from the case studies described in two papers in ICE Forensic Engineering.

This course is divided into four main parts including a short general introduction and will cover:

1. Introduction
- Design life, return period, encounter probability

2. Coastal hydraulics
- Tides, surges and sea level rise
- Nearshore wave processes, including shoaling and refraction
- Depth-limited wave heights
- Impulsive breaking
- Joint probability analysis

3. Wave forces on walls
- Types of vertical walls, breakwaters and seawalls
- Types of loadings, quasi-static vs impulsive vs broken
- Wave loads, simplified assessments
- Wave loads, Goda
- Negative wave loads
- Impulsive loads
- Wave overtopping

4. Case studies, Wick and Dover
- Summary of the analysis approach
- Wick, the fate of Stevenson’s breakwater
- Wave loads and stability calculations for Wick
- Dover outer breakwater
- Wave loads and stability calculations for Dover

5. Conclusions
- Summary of key lessons learnt
- Q & A not previously covered


Dr William Allsop was Technical Director for Maritime Structures at HR Wallingford until 2018, since when he has run William Allsop Consulting Ltd. He has 45+ years experience of analysis and testing of seawalls, breakwaters, revetments, piers / jetties and coastal / shoreline structures, engineering works or renewable energy systems. He has supervised hydraulic models in UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Turkey. William Allsop has been responsible for research for breakwaters and coastal structures in collaboration with other UK and European researchers, particularly in VOWS, Big-VOWS, PROVERBS, CLASH and Floodsite. He has served on ICE Maritime Board, PIANC working groups, and has contributed to PIANC, BSI, ISO and ICE working groups, the Rock Manual, Revetment and Exposed Jetties Manuals, and revisions to BS6349.


William Allsop




Attendance certificates are available on request after the completion of the webinar.


The format of this event will be a webinar using "Zoom Webinars".

There will be opportunity to interact with the lecturer throughout the session, both though allocated Q&A sessions, or leaving text based questions throughout the presentation which the lecturer will be able to answer at convenient opportunities.


The cost of registering for this webinar will be £375+VAT​.

​If you would like to register and pay now, please click the button below "Register Now". If you would prefer an invoice (for VAT exemptions/ purchase order requirement etc...) please click the button "send me an invoice" and complete the registration form, and our admin team will be in touch.

Group rates are available on all our courses. If you would like to discuss what group discounts we have available you can reach us at

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