Lunenburg Harbour chooses state-of-the-art wave attenuator

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This 250-foot section of wave break was installed at the Dartmouth Yacht Club in 2010.

Faced with aging wave protection for Fisherman’s Wharf, the Lunenburg Harbour Authority turned to local inventor and owner of Bear River Plastics, Dave Wilson, to construct and install his state of the art wave attenuator.

Wilson’s Wall is unique because of the material used and it’s step forward from the traditional solid wall design.

Partnered with Ric Hattin of Bedford Engineering, and local mooring specialist Bill Flower, Wilson set out to construct a 150-foot-long wave break and mooring system designed to handle the extreme wave conditions that Lunenburg Harbour could throw at it.

The old three piece wooden structure was too heavy for the mooring system to hold reliably, and therefore became ineffective as a wave break and caused concern that the chains could break and the wave break might break loose and destroy the very boats it was supposed to protect.

After two days of welding the 150-foot wave break into one piece, the unit was launched successfully on the high water and installation of the mooring system began. Over 60,000 pounds of concrete went into the mooring blocks. Not only did the mooring system have to resist the wind and wave action, but Lunenburg Harbour is known to freeze over and this caused a concern that the moving ice could change the position on the wave break as it did with the old wooden sections. The solution was to install 33,000 pounds of concrete to the windward and 17,000 pounds to the leeward.

An added feature of a “TICKLER” was installed to prevent the wave break from becoming a roost for sea birds. This new feature does not cause any discomfort to the birds but provides a sensation to the birds feet as they attempt to land.

Once the wave break was installed properly, a boat wake of approximately of two-feet high was produced in front of the system and no wave action was observed coming out the back side. Tests using larger boat wakes are planned in the future.

Wilson gives his thanks to Bruce Sanders of the Lunenburg Harbour Authority, ABCO Industries, and the town of Lunenburg for their cooperating and being a contributor to this unique Nova Scotia company and their innovation.





Organizations: Lunenburg Harbour Authority, Bear River Plastics, Bedford Engineering ABCO Industries

Geographic location: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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