The marine environment can be harsh and sometimes features dynamic wave loads, poor soils, intense sedimentation, corrosion, sensitive ecosystems, extremely variable tides, heavy seas, ice, earthquakes, and shoreline movement. These environmental conditions are challenging for infrastructure. The need to protect facilities from moderate-height waves led PND to develop the partially penetrating wave barrier.

In 1980, the first PND-designed wave barrier was successfully constructed at a U.S. Coast Guard facility in Oregon. After a severe storm in 1986 hit the wave barrier, it easily withstood 6-foot waves.

Advantages of the partially penetrating wave barrier:

  • Reduces construction and minimizes costs
  • Reduces construction time
  • Minimal space required
  • Allows natural basin flushing
  • Minimizes impact on the marine environment
  • Minimizes loading on submarine soils
  • Reduces the breakwater’s susceptibility to seismic damage
  • Does not require rock quarrying and related activities
  • Uses methods and materials of construction similar to docks
  • May be attached directly to existing docks
  • May be used as a part of foundation system for future docks
  • Can be removed readily for modification or expansion
  • Allows construction in deep water
  • Can provide mooring directly to the breakwater
  • Can be constructed with a variety of materials and construction methods



    It began as many Alaska stories do: on a fishing boat at sea. That's where it all started for PND Engineers, Inc. It's a story steeped in colorful history from a number of first-impression engineering designs in Alaska to groundbreaking R&D that transcends Alaska and has influenced our international industry. For 40 years, PND has taken pride in providing innovative solutions at low costs, often in challenging conditions. This is our story.

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