Things you only know if you’re a Marine Structural Engineer

Things you only know if you’re a Marine Structural Engineer
...according to Marisa Ackhurst Pr Tech Eng who is currently based in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Our PPE (personal protective equipment) includes a life jacket, sometimes even diving gear


Doing structural inspections on site requires safety gear for working over (or under) water.

We think BIG


Our structural steel and reinforced concrete structures are designed to be durable and are often not as slender and good-looking compared to structures on land. The ugly bits are hidden away under water and designed to last.

We work the wrong (right?) way around


Construction methods often dictate our designs.  We need to think how things can be constructed early on in the project as this can affect the geometry and structure types used.  Working over water is more challenging than working on land so ‘constructible’ designs are essential.

Variety is the spice of life


We work with clients ranging from home owners needing to protect their beach homes from stormy seas, private beach resort developers to mining companies needing export terminals or desalination plants, contractors needing alternative designs and port operators extending / developing their ports.  Structures vary in size and type.  You can end up designing a small concrete seawall the one day and a large steel export jetty the next.  Anything from feasibility study level right through to construction, operations and maintenance.

Life is (sometimes) a day at the beach


Our project sites can be very remote and also very idyllic.  Should you be so lucky to go for the initial site investigation site visit you will probably end up spending a day or more exploring suitable sites around various beaches.
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Marisa is a Principal Associate at WSP’s Maritime office in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where she is designing marine structures.

She is also currently busy writing a design guideline for the ICE with the explanatory title : Design of Vertical Gravity Sea and Quay Walls.  The book will cover the complete processes from structure type selection through to detail design, based on the British Standard 6349 and Eurocodes as well as guidelines such as PROVERBS, Japanese guidelines and recent research. The book is expected to be published by 2020. For enquiries about her book, you may contact info@icepublishing.com.
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