Submerged breakwaters - Reef Balls can provide an excellent alternative, or addition to rock in the construction of submerged breakwaters.
The internal voids provided by Reef Balls compared to solid rock/sand bags deliver numerous benefits including:
- Greater marine life - which can provide a recreational asset, eg snorkelling or fishing attraction (ideal for resorts), and/or an environmental offset for impacts that may have occurred due to storms or development, dredging etc
- 3-5 times less mass - coastal Reef Ball breakwaters can be built in 1-2m depth whereas rock breakwaters often have to be built in deeper water, therefore requiring more rock to achieve the required height and width, making submerged breakwaters traditionally an expensive option
- Cheaper deployment - Reef Balls do not require large barges or lifting equipment (that may not be available or is expensive) and can even be floated out from the beach and deployed
- Permeability - Reef Ball breakwaters allow water to pass through which prevents a ponding effect behind the breakwater and accelerated currents around the ends that cause scouring and washing out of sand.
- Better water quality - permeability of the breakwater also helps maintain water quality in the lee of the breakwater which can be important if corals or seagrasses are present
The stability of the units has been studied and proven in wave tank tests by the US Army Corp of Engineers and Florida Tech. Breakwaters have been constructed in Mexico, Florida, Antigua, Domincun Republic, Cayman Islands, Kuwait, and Sabah, and several have received direct hits from hurricanes and not moved.
Oyster Bars - Reef Ball units weighing up to 5 tonnes have been created specifically for nearshore breakwaters, however the smaller units such as Oyster Balls (15kg) make excellent mini breakwaters for shorelines in quiet waters such as estuaries where boat wash may be eroding the banks. The Oyster Balls quickly become colonised by oysters or mussels which then provide habitat, food, and natural filtering of particles from the water.
Enhancement of surfing reefs - reefs created using sand filled geotextile containers are prone to anchor damage and attract fishers. Reef Balls strategically placed can provide added diversity of habitat and fish and help move fishers away from the containers.
Note: Structures that influence waves/currents must be designed by experienced professionals and we use a highly experienced international team for such projects.