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Historic Review of Coastal Engineering

Jeffrey Havelin, PE

This course will review in detail the ancient and modern day Coastal Engineering developments. The basic concepts learned thousands of years ago still apply to today’s engineering principles and practices.

The history of coastal engineering reaches back over five thousand years to the ancient world bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. Coastal engineering, as it relates to harbors, starts with the development of maritime traffic, perhaps before 3500 BC.

Recently, archaeologists, using modern survey techniques, excavations, and old documents have revealed some of the sophisticated engineering in these old harbors. Technically interesting features have shown up and are now reappearing in modern port designs. Common to most ancient ports was a well planned and effectively located seawall or breakwater for protection and a quay or mole for loading vessels, features frequently included in modern ports.

In England, coastal engineering works date back to the Romans, who recognized the danger of floods and sea inundation of low-lying lands.

The origins of the USACE date to June of 1775, at the beginning of the American War of Independence, when the Second Continental Congress authorized General Washington to assign a “chief engineer” for the “grand army”.

This course is based entirely on Chapter 3 History of Coastal Engineering of “The Coastal Engineering Manual “-EM 1110-2-1100. This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials. You will be quizzed on the attached document in its entirety.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.