How it Works

Wave attenuation system to mitigate shoreline erosion

Our engineered marine ecosystem structure, a wave attenuation system to mitigate shoreline erosion, utilizes 12” octagonally-shaped concrete ecodisks center-mounted on a composite fiberglass patented reinforced piling structure. The ecodisks are supported at a specified height on the piling by a composite fiberglass reinforced polymer bottom clamp which is attached to the piling by mechanical and adhesive connections. Marine Ecosystem structures are installed in rows at a predetermined water depth based on the application type.

Wave attenuation by the marine ecosystem
is achieved by three primary means:


Reflection of wave energy back into incoming waves,


Absorption of wave energy by the mass of the structure,


Allowing water to flow through the structure.

As waves enter the water side disc legs of the Atlantic Reefmaker, the ecodisks direct the water to the fiberglass piling. When the wave water reaches the pile it speeds up, reaches the ‘landward’ side of the structure, and then exits the structure. Throughout this process, wave energy dissipates, sediment in the water column drops out, and accretes on the shoreline.

Compared to traditional rock sills, marine ecosystems
are ideal living shoreline structures for a few reasons:

  • The pile mounted design significantly reduces the benthic footprint and adverse environmental impact.
  • They provide superior flushing and water quality through and behind the ecosystem structure.
  • The marine ecosystem’s modular design are easier to maintain, modify, or remove.

The wave energy that enters the structure, the Atlantic Reefmaker concept works by the disk legs on the ‘water-front’ side of the ecodisks directing water to the fiberglass piling. When the wave water reaches the pile, water speeds up around the pile. When the wave water reaches the ‘landward’ side of the structure, the water exits the structure. As the wave energy dissipates, and sediment in the water column drops out, and it accretes on the shoreline

Why Use the Atlantic Reefmaker System?

There are many different ways to help mitigate coastal erosion but some, like traditional rock sills and jetties, have negative side effects. Our engineered marine ecosystem structure (units) are designed with efficiency and environmental impact in mind.

The Atlantic Reefmaker is unique from other reef systems because our system includes individual disks that are stacked on a 12” diameter fiberglass pile. The product can be stacked to a uniform height, is modularly constructed, and can be easily expanded. The system is extremely beneficial in environmentally sensitive locations where limited adverse substrate impacts are required and in areas with limited soil bearing capacity. The system’s footprint is limited to the pile itself enabling use in horizontally limited areas. The system allows for flushing along the entire shoreline behind the structure. This concept also minimizes scour and sand redistribution, especially when compared to rock breakwater sills. The system can withstand high wave energy impacts without breaking down.

Read our White Paper: Shoreline Protection of Historic And Coastal Resources At Brunswick Town/ Fort Anderson

Atlantic ReefMaker Benefits:

Works in horizontally limited areas
Dissipates destructive wave energy
Provides habitat for marine fauna, sessile and non-sessile organisms
Sets base unit above the substrate minimizing scour (sits off of the sea floor minimizing scour and sand redistribution)
Works in high energy environments
Minimizes ‘foot-print’ impact to substrate
Permits flushing along the entire shoreline
Modularly constructed to allow post-installation modification
Enables easy adjustments to accommodate for sea level rise (SLR)

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