Caribbean Islands Breakwater Construction

breakwater-harborProtecting Shorelines and Harbors with Breakwaters

Breakwaters are structures built along coasts to protect beaches, dunes, harbors and bluffs from oncoming waves. Because of the high cost of building offshore breakwaters, most breakwaters are constructed to protect the integrity of the coast as well as form navigational assists. Our services for Southern Dredging & Marine are offered throughout Florida, the Caribbean as well as Central America including Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama and South America. Contact us at 706-654-0062 or email us.

Offshore breakwaters, sometimes referred to as bulkheads, slow down the wave action thus protecting against coastal erosion and are positioned either away from the coast or at one end. Breakwaters can include small structures placed in somewhat shallow water, and can be fixed or floating depending on depth and tidal range. The main purpose of a breakwater is to absorb the energy of the smashing waves. They mostly consist of large pieces of concrete places parallel or perpendicular to the coast to keep the waters of the port calm. Breakwaters can incur damage and upturning by rough seas caused by storms and can be plagued with drainage issues.

Because breakwaters stop wave action and stop the flow of sand along the coast, fixed breakwaters can prevent needed sand from reaching downstream beaches. Floating breakwaters do not effect sand movement, but are not as effective with stopping wave action. Southern Dredging & Marine offers Breakwater construction throughout the Florida, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Protecting Harbors and Ships

Anchorages for harbors and ships can be protected by building an underwater barrier, or a natural barrier such as a reef. Other breakwaters can be enhanced or extended by a barrier of rocks.

Caisson Breakwaters

A caisson breakwater has vertical sides and to berth vessels on the inner face of the breakwater. The caisson is filled and helps to prevent being overturning by the waves the hitting against them. The cost can be high to create in shallow water, but less costly than revetment breakers used in deeper water.

Rubble Mound Breakwaters

Rubble mound breakwaters are usually a pile of rubble fitted together loosely, thus creating empty spaces that help to alleviate the force of the wave. By using concrete Armour or rock outside of the structure, the force is absorbed on the outside, and to further dissipate the force of the way, sands are help stop the wave energy from going through the breakwater core. Building a shallow water breakwater is less costly than deeper water, as the deeper water requires more rubble.

Rubble mound breakwaters is important to protecting the coast and crucial to the design of any port. Rocks will vary in size and the method of dumping the rocks will vary depending on the needs of the particular project.The various methods of building a rubble mound breakwater include building on land using a dump truck, from the sea by barges or from the sea with fall pipes by barges.


RipRap is heavy stone armour on a coast or shore used to protect against wave action and scour. Riprap is dependent on the soil is place on, which needs to be stable and sloping. RipRap consists of a layer of armour layer of rough, angular rock or stone, an underlying filter layer to keep the rock from settling and allowing groundwater drainage, and the toe protection.

To keep the riprap from overtopping, a stone overtopping apron can be included. The size of the riprap stone is measured in D50 values expressed in inches. Filter layers are made of filter cloth called geotextile or well-graded stone. A riprap can only protect the land immediately behind it, but not the adjacent areas. It is also not unusual for erosion to be accelerated.

GeoTextile Tubes

Southern Dredging & Marine Geotextile Tubes and Bags are UV resistant sand colored geotextile containers filled either hydraulically or mechanically with sand and used instead of stone, concrete or other hardened systems for protecting the coastline. They are especially important where there is minimal local stone or where stone or concrete structures would  spoil from the beauty of the area.

Our GeoTextile Tubes are considered “soft” armored structures and are generally easier to secure permits than hard armored structures such as various concrete structures or riprap.

Southern Dredging & Marine Geotextile Tubes are used in the design of various shoreline coastal engineering structures such as breakwaters, dykes, dune cores, revetments, reefs, groynes.

Armour Blocks


X-Bloc® is an interlocking armour unit designed to protect breakwaters and shorelines and has become very popular in breakwater uses. It is a reliable single layer Armour unit with structural integrity and has great hydraulic stability.

Tetrapod is another popular type of armour block used in breakwaters either by itself or along with stone rubble or riprap. It's popularity is gaining as it is not as sensitive to the wave action as a rock rubble mound is, providing more stability and lasting longer. Our services for Southern Dredging & Marine are offered throughout the eastern portion of the United States including Florida, the Caribbean, Central America including Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama and South America.