Marine and Coastal

Manly Hydraulics Laboratory (MHL) has extensive experience in the investigation of beach processes and management of the coastal zone. Our studies address issues such as beach fluctuations and shoreline recession, sand drift, coastal inundation and ocean overwash. We also study the physical processes and hazards for coastal, estuarine and riverine systems, including Sea Level Rise and Climate Change effects. We have extensive experience in condition and capability assessment of coastal and maritime structures.

Our investigations can use physical modelling, numerical modelling and/or field investigation, and often use a combination of all three. We maintain boating and diving capabilities to support coastal and estuarine projects, enabling laboratory personnel to deploy and recover instruments and undertake inspections in the marine environment.

MHL deploys Waverider buoys to measure and assess ocean waves along the NSW coast for the NSW Government. We also monitor wave climates in harbours and bays. Other coastal data collection includes ocean currents, sea surface temperature, water quality and water levels along the coast. We have undertaken installation of tsunami warning stations across Australia on behalf of the Bureau of Meteorology. MHL has also undertaken extensive gauging of tidal flows in many estuaries on behalf of NSW Government and other clients interstate and internationally.

MHL maintains one of Australia's largest wave and tidal databases. We produce tide charts for NSW coastal waters and interstate locations. MHL also carries out strategic analysis of the long term data records, including wave height and water level exceedance statistics, storm surge and tidal anomaly analysis and long term trend analysis to assess climate change effects.

Our marine and coastal capabilities can be applied to a wide variety of investigation and management scenarios. MHL undertakes design and operational monitoring of outfalls focusing on sewage, brine and/or temperature stream dilution and dispersion modelling. We also undertake investigations for the design, operation and maintenance of marinas, boat harbours and other maritime structures. MHL also undertake surveys of historic shipwrecks along the NSW coast for the NSW Heritage Office.

MHL's wave flume and basin have been used to optimise the detailed design of numerous breakwaters and other coastal structures across Australia and overseas. For over twenty years MHL has conducted detailed breakwater asset surveys documenting structural stability and safety concerns for all minor ports breakwaters in NSW on behalf of NSW Government agencies and port authorities.

Port Kembla Breakwater Project

MHL provided investigative and design solutions to help Sydney Water build a retaining wall that protects its Port Kembla Treatment Plant, positioned right at the water’s edge. MHL built a 3D wave model to assess the structural design, and this photo-monitoring footage captured every step of the build to ensure it will be safe from waves and storms for years to come.

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