Emergency Protection

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The following article discusses emergency protection of coasts. Emergency protection measures are by nature quickly built and not well designed measures.


Typical building methods and materials are the following:

  • Rock dumping. Without filter layers, often too steep and low, without proper toe protection, which means that they are unstable
  • Sand bagging, sometimes supported by wooden piles. Often too low and without toe protection etc. The fabric is not durable, which means that such protection will collapse after a very short period
  • Dumping of other kinds of material easily at hand, such as different kinds of concrete pieces, building materials, old tires etc.

Functional characteristics

Emergency protection measures are typically having the following characteristics:

  • They are unstable and thus not providing proper protection
  • They need constant maintenance and supply of new materials
  • They are always passive, and promotes further loss of beach
  • They are spoiling the natural beauty of the beach
  • They prevent passage of the beach
  • They pollute the beach with unnatural elements, such concrete debris, bricks, rubber and plastic


Private and public land owners are sometimes forced to "construct" emergency protection at locations where "unexpected" erosion occurs. The emergency protection is installed in order to prevent further damage to coastal installations. "Unexpected" can have different causes as discussed in the following:

  • Unexpected can be in the form of a rare of extreme event, such as a tidal wave situation or the passage of cyclone
  • Unexpected can be the development of ongoing erosion at locations where it has not been possible to provide funds for a proper and timely protection
  • Unexpected can be due to lack of knowledge to coastal processes and/or data, whereby erosion seems to be unexpected despite the fact that it could have been foreseen if proper monitoring and coastal investigations had been practised

Emergency protection can to a great extent be avoided by proper monitoring, planing and funding.


Further reading

Mangor, K., Drønen, N. K., Kaergaard, K.H. and Kristensen, N.E. 2017. Shoreline management guidelines. DHI https://www.dhigroup.com/marine-water/ebook-shoreline-management-guidelines.

The main author of this article is Mangor, Karsten
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Mangor, Karsten (2020): Emergency Protection. Available from http://www.coastalwiki.org/wiki/Emergency_Protection [accessed on 17-07-2024]