Harbour approach channels – design guidelines



Dr Mark McBride, Manager, Ships Group, HR Wallingford, UK


Ensuring the continued safety and efficiency of ships transiting channels requires designers and naval architects to better understand the handling and manoeuvrability of both existing and new generation ships in shallow and restricted waters. In particular, PIANC, the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, wishes to provide the best possible advice on the issues of horizontal and vertical dimensions relating to shipping channels and manoeuvring areas.

Consequently, PIANC recently published ‘Harbour Approach Channels – Design guidelines’, a report from its Working Group 121 (previously MarCom Working Group 49). This report provides guidelines and recommendations for the design of vertical and horizontal dimensions of harbour approach channels, manoeuvring and anchorage areas within harbours, along with defining restrictions to operations within a channel. It includes guidelines for establishing depth and width requirements in addition to vertical bridge clearances.

The report supercedes and replaces the joint PIANC-IAPH report ‘Approach Channels – A Guide for Design’, which was published in 1997 (from PIANC MarCom Working Group 30). This report was widely accepted worldwide by port designers. The new report has been compiled once more in close cooperation with IAPH (International Association of Ports and Harbours), but also with IMPA (International Maritime Pilots Association) and IALA (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities).

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