Protect coasts and harbors with breakwater barriers

Learn what breakwaters are and how they are included in flood projections


Breakwaters are barriers built out into a body of water to protect a coast or harbor from the force of waves. Breakwaters are an example of grey infrastructure. Grey infrastructure is engineered infrastructure that is built from hard, impervious materials such as concrete. Often, grey structural types are used in conjunction with one another and/or in tandem with green infrastructure projects to reduce flood risk. There are multiple kinds of grey flood infrastructure, six of these structures types are discussed below. 


Breakwaters at Colonial National Historic Park, Virginia. 

Flood risk reduction

Information on Flood Factor comes from the First Street Foundation Flood Model. A breakwater is one of the 40 different types of flood risk reduction projects, known as adaptation, that this model considers when calculating and validating flood projections. 

The Adaptation Team continues to collect information on the flood infrastructure that exists across the country to make sure the Flood Model includes as many adaptation projects as possible. If you know of any projects that are not shown today, please help the team by submitting this flood protection project user input form. The adaptation database contains 23,000 features today. We know there are more projects to include and value your input!


Learn more 

Adaptation types

Adaptation methodology

How can local knowledge improve the Flood Model

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