3 Common Types of Marine Structures

Just like land-based structures, there are many different types of marine structures. Here are three common types of marine structures.

1. Docks

One of the most well-known types of marine architecture is the dock. Whether you’re in California or Florida marine construction will invariably involve docks. A basic dock is a stretch of marine construction extending into the water on a coastline, where boats can be moored. Several boats can be share dock space quite easily. Many docks have features to benefit certain business opportunities, such as fishing and tourism.

2. Coastal Protection Structures

Coastal protection structures are unlike docks and piers in that they’re not meant for use by marine vessels. Instead, they’re large walls that protect coastlines and harbors from erosion and other dangers caused by waves and tidal changes. Seawalls are the most common protection structures, but there are also jetties, breakwaters, bulkheads and groin structures. Seawalls are most effective at flooding prevention and mitigation. Bulkheads and groin structures are both designed to prevent erosion. Jetties extend farther into the water to prevent sandbar formation and limit currents at harbor and estuary entrances. Breakwaters protect the shore and create safe places to moor and handle ships.

3. Piers

Piers provide a similar function to docks, but for large ships rather than boats. These structures are quite tall and large, extending out into the water rather than parallel to the coastline, and ships can be berthed on either side of them. This provides more space for passengers to embark and disembark and cargo to be loaded and unloaded. Piers should be equal to or longer than the length of the largest ship that will use them. If they’re too small, there may not be enough room for the movement of crews, passengers and cargo.

Each marine structure serves a specific purpose and different, but typically related audiences. While a coastal protection structure benefits an entire community and ecosystem, piers and docks tend to be more business and industry-oriented.

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