Wave Gauge: Characterising vessel movements and their erosive components

Ryan, Brendan (2018) Wave Gauge: Characterising vessel movements and their erosive components. [USQ Project]


Riverbank erosion causes the loss of valuable agricultural land, damage to infrastructure, increased sediment load, riparian vegetation loss and decreases in bank stability (Abernethy & Rutherfurd, 1999). Research suggests that vessel waves can accelerate the rate of riverbank erosion and therefore, should be considered when managing river health. In 2017, to combat ongoing erosion issues, the Murray Darling Basin Authority proposed a ban on wake enhancing vessels within a 49 km stretch of the Murray River, downstream of Corowa, NSW. The data supporting the ban was collected visually on only two weekends throughout the peak season and thus, lacked in quantity and quality. It was found that there is currently no commercially available data collection device that autonomously records vessel movements in rivers and streams and measures their erosive components.

The principal aim of the research project was to design, develop and test a prototype Wave Gauge that can be deployed to record and characterise vessel movements by measuring their specific erosive components. Following extensive prototype development, the methodology was developed to critically analyse the performance and applicability of the Wave Gauge and its associated Processing Tool. Three vessels with contrasting type, length, power and weight were used throughout the research where variables such as speed, sailing line and direction were tested. The Processing Tool developed in this research processes the timeseries data from the Wave Gauge and generates a data output. This output listed each vessel movement within the given time-period and detailed its respective time of occurrence, maximum wave height, maximum period, maximum energy and its erosive score.

The Wave Gauge was found to successfully record and characterise vessel movements by measuring their specific erosive components using an ultrasonic sensor-based system. For the prototype system, the optimal settings were determined as 0.33 second time increment and 350mm above water level mounting height, resulting in an accuracy of 3.5% when considering total wave-train energy. It was found that the Wave Gauge’s ability to differentiate vessel types and speeds could be enhanced with more extensive testing of different vessel types. It was concluded that further work should involve the development of a commercially viable wave gauging tool; which would have greater sensor accuracy, more advanced processing software and the ability for remote connection.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Environmental)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences (1 Jul 2013 - 5 Sep 2019)
Supervisors: Baillie, Justine
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 03:55
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2022 03:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: wave gauge; riverbank erosion; agricultural land
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/40755

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