Evaluation of an approximate method for incorporating floating docks in harbor wave prediction models

Dongcheng Li, Vijay Panchang, Zhaoxiang Tang, Zeki Demirbilek, Jerry Ramsden

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Computer models based on the two-dimensional (2-D) elliptic mild-slope equation are nowadays routinely used in harbor engineering applications. However, structures like floating breakwaters and docks, which are often encountered in the modeling domain, render the problem for locally three-dimensional model and hence are problematic to incorporate in a 2-D model. Tsay and Liu (Applied Ocean Research. 1983. Vol 5(l):30-37) proposed a highly simplified but approximate approach that does not violate the overall two dimensionality of the problem. The validity of their approach is examined in detail, and it is found that although their approximation provides results with the correct trend, the actual solutions deviate considerably from the theoretical solutions. We have developed correction factors that may be used to produce more reliable results using the framework of Tsay and Liu. Application of the resulting method to a harbor in Alaska shows that docks in the harbor distort the wave field considerably and create a reflective pattern that has the potential to affect navigation safety in some areas. A by-product of this paper consists of plots of transmission coefficients for waves propagating past rectangular and cylindrical floating objects of infinite extent for a wide range of conditions encountered in practice. Such transmission coefficients are at present readily available in the published literature for selected cases only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1092
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005



  • Dock
  • Equation
  • Floating breakwater
  • Harbor
  • Marina
  • Mild slope
  • Model
  • Wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)

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