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Introduction to Coastal Processes and Coastal Engineering

The aim of this 18hr course is to introduce Coastal Processes and how these relate to the principles and practice of Coastal Engineering. You will learn the fundamentals of the hydraulic and sedimentary processes that shape the active coastal zone, identify and discuss appropriate tools to analyse problems and design solutions to coastal erosion, and learn the design principles of harbours, breakwaters, beach nourishment and other coastal protection measures.

This is a practical course incorporating real examples and Australian case studies, and a field trip to illustrate the problems of providing practical solutions to coastal sediment processes in a highly developed urban environment.

Issues addressed


  • Introduction to the course
  • Water waves – impact on the coasts and coastal erosion processes
  • Linear long waves – theory and approximations
  • Sine waves – application, flow field, pressure field, flow velocity
  • Wave statistics – random waves, expected maximum wave heights, wave groups
  • Site tour.


  • Offshore wave measurements – design conditions, tides, how these affect design
  • Outside the surf zone – breakwaters and harbours, types, typical designs, key constraints
  • Inside the surf zone – wave setup, surf beat, long-shore currents. How these influence coastal management and planning
  • Beach face process – wave run-up, including tsunami run-up. Impact of these processes in terms of coastal inundation and coastal safety
  • Beach groundwater – coastal aquifers, dispersion of pollutants, vegetation
  • Surf safety – rip currents, what to look for, what to do.
  • Beach profiles and erosion cycles -differences between short and long term erosion, how to protects against the different modes.


  • Coastal sediment transport – sediment budgets, how to analyse, coastal cells
  • Long-shore and cross-shore transport principles – key drivers, influence of man-made and natural structures, mitigation measures
  • Coastal area modelling – present state-of-the-art in hydrodynamic models and morphology
  • Discussion of research issues and current problems in coastal engineering
  • Discussion of challenges faced by course delegates in managing coastal projects.

What do you get

  • Access to world-leading experts and local researcher
  • Textbook – Coastal and Estuarine Processes (2009), Peter Nielsen
  • Site visit to observe and discuss key coastal processes
  • Discussion of issues relevant to delegates.

Who should attend

The course is designed specifically for engineers, scientists, and state and local authority officials charged with managing coastal resources and development, who do not have a strong background in Coastal Engineering. The course aims to provide an overview of the key principles to assist attendees with communication and interaction with specialist coastal consulting engineers.

This course is not currently scheduled for a future event


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