Coastal engineering is a relatively new field that continues to actively grow. As practitioners (and future practitioners), we must understand the complex nature of waves, sediment, and structures as dynamic and interactive systems. Whereas a number of textbooks have been written on specific topics within coastal engineering, finding a good reference book that can be used for teaching or as a reference tool for practitioners in less common. This book fills that niche and provides general introductions to a wide range of coastal engineering topics in a format that is easy for students and practitioners to grasp without going into the extreme complexity that may be found in books dedicated to a single topic.
The text begins with a nice introduction chapter, albeit UK focussed, providing a brief history of coastal engineering, general overview of the coastal environment, and system behaviour. The second chapter covers wave theory and surf zone processes and includes a brief discussion on wave forces on structures, which is covered in more detail in Chapter 9. Chapter 3 provides guidance on design wave specification and introduces topics on wave statistics, spectra, and wave prediction useful to the practitioner. The other chapters cover waves and water levels (Chapters 2–4), sediment transport (Chapters 5–6), coastal engineering design (Chapters 7 and 9), and field measurements and physical models (Chapter 8).
This is the 3rd edition of this book and includes updates to previous versions where, as the authors acknowledge, original material has been superseded or more details are now available due to new developments and observations. Specifically, this edition includes sections on tidal analysis, storm surge, and swell waves (Chapter 4) to acknowledge the increasing focus/need of practitioners to understand and design for extreme events now and into the future. This new chapter on water levels provides an introduction to the water level components practitioners should consider during risk analysis and design and provides several case studies of the more recent tsunamis, including 2004 Boxing Day, the 2009 South Pacific Island, and the 2011 Japan. The chapter on “Design, Reliability and Risk” (Chapter 7) has been simplified and now includes more examples. For those interested in extreme value analysis and return periods, Chapter 7 provides a good introduction without getting too lost in the high-end mathematics. The authors also provide a nice discussion on risk assessment with step-by-step approaches and a subsection on damage and failure of structures.
Chapter 9 (“Conceptual and Detailed Design”) brings much of the earlier concepts together into an overview of current design best practice for shoreline/coastal management and coastal structural design and has been updated to reflect new design guidelines for coastal structures (e.g., Eurotop 2016).
Overall, the book is well-suited as a textbook for undergraduate and graduate level coastal engineering courses because it covers a wide range of topics typically touched on in these courses and does so in a structured, scaffolded approach for learning. The text is easy to follow and includes worked examples and case studies for students/practitioners to test the knowledge and see the work in practice, as well as suggested further reading for those wanting more details. Most figures are easy to read, with maps being less legible/of lower print quality. It is a book I will recommend to my own students who wish to extend their reading beyond the class notes given.