Dock Building

The Importance of Marine Construction

Marine Construction Near Me involves working in a dynamic, marine environment. From coastal structures to support commercial activities to protecting natural shorelines, these types of projects involve numerous considerations.

Marine Construction

Finding qualified workers to take on this type of work takes a special kind of person — one who doesn’t mind being on moving surfaces and doesn’t have a fear of water.

Piers and wharves are an essential component of marine construction. They must be capable of withstanding the weight and force of the largest vessels, while also maintaining structural integrity and preventing corrosion and erosion. They are typically made from strong materials, such as concrete, vinyl, or riprap (a type of loose rock commonly used in marine structure foundations).

Marine construction engineers should consider the structural design of piers and wharves as part of the overall facility planning process. This includes considerations such as overall dimensions and clearances, live load requirements, structural design (including seismic considerations), fender systems, deck assemblies, separators, access facilities, and appurtenances.

In order to ensure that a pier or wharf can accommodate the widest range of vessel sizes, designers must take into account the depth of water in the area where they plan to build. For example, if the harbor bottom is not deep enough to support a pier or wharf, engineers should consider using a floating foundation.

This is one of the many factors that must be weighed when determining whether to build a pier or a wharf, alongside considerations such as operation, landslide approaches, and structural types. A thorough examination of all factors involved in this decision will help contractors determine what type of structure will best serve their clients’ needs.

A pier is typically a vertical structure that extends from the shore into the sea. It may be oriented at a perpendicular angle to the shore, or it can be built parallel to the coast. A pier can also be extended into the water on either side, which is known as a slip.

If a pier is being built to house track-mounted machinery such as cranes, it should be made of a solid slab with high punching shear resistance. This will prevent the concrete from spalling at corners and edges, which can increase bending loads on the structure. Engineers should also consider the implications of their pier or wharf on nearby structures. This will require an assessment of the groundwater flow, the geological conditions under the pier or wharf, and other environmental factors.

Floating Structures

Floating structures are built to float on water for residential, commercial, industrial or other purposes. They can be made from a variety of materials, including lightweight air-filled or polyethylene foam. Floating structures may be designed to withstand a variety of loads, including seismic, wind and wave conditions.

Marine construction encompasses a vast range of structures, from boats to floating islands and whole cities. Some are fixed to the ocean floor or moored dynamically by thrusters, while others are anchored to the seabed or simply drift freely. In general, marine structures are categorized by their proximity to land: coastal are within 20 miles of land and in shallow water, offshore are about 20 to 150 miles from land and mid-depths, and deepwater begins at more than 150 miles from land and 5,000 feet of water depth.

The majority of marine construction projects require some level of underwater work. In most cases, this means either drilling a caisson to form the foundation of a dock or pier in a cofferdam, or prefabricating structural units off-site and assembling them on site. A few projects, such as bridges and tunnels, are built entirely underwater by use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

Whether on the surface or under the waves, many types of marine structures must be able to absorb large, sudden loads, including vibrations from passing vessels. This requires the hull and decks to be strengthened with stiffening plates. Most of these stiffening plates are placed at transverse and longitudinal locations to strengthen the hull and improve its ability to absorb stresses from varying directions. Transverse stiffening plates are usually standard rolled steel sections or plates of various thicknesses. Longitudinal stiffening plates run in a longitudinal direction from forward to aft and resist longitudinal loads and their effects, like bending stresses and buckling.

Many marine structures are designed to be neutrally buoyant, allowing them to have six degrees of freedom (heave, surge, sway, pitch, roll and yaw). Other marine structures such as tethered buoyant towers or tension leg platforms are heave-restrained. When these moored or unmoored, dynamically-positioned structures are subjected to excitation forces, their motions must be analyzed as a coupled system with the platform, risers and mooring systems.

Subsea Foundations

Marine structures are often celebrated for the superstructures that sit above water, but the true engineering marvel is the marine foundations that bind and support these structures. The complexity and importance of subsea foundation design makes it a key focus of any marine construction project.

Marine foundations are designed to bear the self-weight of a structure/machinery, as well as environmental loads, such as wind and seismic forces in earthquake-prone areas. Engineers use complex mathematical models and simulations, alongside historical data and safety factors to determine expected loads and design foundations accordingly.

In order to achieve the required load capacity, a foundation must be constructed of durable material, such as concrete. The materials used depend on the anticipated lifetime of a marine structure and the environmental conditions in which it is expected to operate.

The design of a foundation and protection concept begins with the site specific geotechnical survey which provides information on the seabed composition, soil properties, and any hazards like rocks or sunken objects that may require special considerations. In addition to the foundation structure itself, engineers must also take into account load cases ranging from fabrication, load-out, transportation, installation, piling, earthquake, pipeline and spool loads, fishing loads, dropped objects and drilling loads (if applicable).

For soft, often clay, seabed conditions where fishing protection is not a requirement, skirted foundations can be used to provide sideways resistance by penetrating into the seabed with suction anchors or skirts. This is a cost-effective solution for many types of subsea modules, including heavy drilling templates, cluster manifold and PLEMs. For harder and more sandy seabed conditions where the use of skirted foundations is not possible, piling can be used to penetrate into the seabed with pile sleeves. This solution is most commonly used for floating offshore wind turbines.

When the monopile foundations are installed at an OWT site, they are first loaded onto an installation vessel and then lowered into place by an onboard monopile crane. This process generates significant noise underwater and, to reduce any potential negative impacts on marine mammals, double bubble curtains are used to absorb and disperse the pressure waves.

Emergency Response

Marine construction projects often include complex logistical and operational challenges. Whether constructing a pier in the ocean or rerouting a waterway to enable zero-emission transport, these projects require an interdisciplinary approach to ensure the project is completed responsibly and efficiently. To do so, project managers must prioritize safety and take steps to mitigate the unique risks associated with working in marine environments.

Unlike traditional construction sites, maritime operations take place in highly abrasive and unpredictable environments. These challenges include the potential for machinery to slip into the water and the close proximity of workers to marine life. To mitigate these risks, proper training and equipment is essential. Regular safety audits also play a vital role in preventing accidents.

Prioritizing safety in marine construction projects is a multifaceted effort that requires leadership commitment, ongoing evaluation, and a dedicated workforce. It’s about creating a culture where safety is considered a core value rather than simply a compliance issue. This means making safety discussions a part of daily routines, encouraging open communication about safety concerns, and recognizing and rewarding safe practices.

Lastly, a unique challenge is the need to adapt to rapidly evolving regulations at all levels (state, federal and international) that are either general or specific to maritime activities. This can be especially challenging for land-based contractors working on projects with a marine component.

In addition, marine construction works must be mindful of environmental impacts, including the need to avoid water pollution and protect delicate ecosystems. These requirements require careful coordination with project teams, and it’s important that all employees have the proper training to understand and implement these protocols.

As the industry continues to grow and move towards a more sustainable future, marine contractors are poised to provide innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly services/solutions. In order to do so, they must use new technologies that will allow them to work smarter and become more efficient. This is where Sinay comes in, providing high-quality metocean data and state-of-the-art tools that will allow marine contractors to reduce downtime and boost productivity. With an easy-to-use API, marine contractors can access Sinay’s data and reports directly on their information systems to make informed decisions for improved efficiency, sustainability, and risk mitigation.