01 Nov Gregor Macfarlane
Dr Gregor Macfarlane is an Associate Professor in maritime hydrodynamics at the Australian Maritime College, a specialist institute of the University of Tasmania. Gregor is a naval architect with 25 years’ experience quantifying waves created by moving boats and ships and their effects on the surrounding environment and maritime structures.
The growing popularity of high-powered, high-speed recreational craft and the introduction of regular, high-speed commercial ferry services can result in a variety of adverse issues due to the waves they create. One of the most common issues for rivers and sheltered waterways is shoreline erosion, resulting in an increasing need to implement one or more of the following remedial measures to address these issues:
- regulate vessel operations (alter speed and/or route);
- optimise the vessel design to minimise or eliminate the generation of damaging waves, or;
- implement remedial measures on shore.
The most commonly adopted remedial measure for documented cases in rivers is to regulate vessel operations through the implementation of suitable criteria. Regardless of the actions adopted, there is a demonstrated need to understand the phenomenon and to develop ways to minimise its effect through design and operation.
Researchers at the Australian Maritime College have studied boat and ship generated waves and their effects on the surrounding environment for almost 30 years. This experience has led to the development of a technique that can accurately and rapidly assess the wave wake of vessels that operate within sheltered waterways that possess sensitive shorelines. This includes an empirical prediction tool that can quantify the characteristics of the waves generated by a wide variety of hull forms under practical operational conditions, and the adoption of suitable regulatory criteria for vessel operations. The combined use of the prediction tool and criteria provides the means to identify any potentially serious wave wake issues very early in planning and design stages of a vessel for a particular route.