Palm Beach shoreline bolstered by artificial reef

Published on 23 September 2021

Palm Beach artificial reef
The world-first Palm Beach Shoreline Project has been hailed as a huge success, delivering and retaining approximately 550,000 cubic metres of additional sand to the city’s most vulnerable stretch of coastline since its completion two years ago. 


Post project completion surveys have measured a sustained increase in beach width and sand volume, which are critical to provide a buffer against coastal erosion.


Monitoring of the reef structure has also shown a large increase in marine sea life, and an ongoing enhancement of local surfing options with high quality waves with the right combination of swell, wind and tides.


Mayor Tom Tate said the $18.2 million coastal engineering world-first feat continued to pay dividends, protecting people and property. 


“Our ongoing investment into our coastline has ensured our beaches have held firm against Mother Nature’s fury during severe weather and large swell events. 
“Palm Beach Artificial Reef continues to prove effective in regulating sand movement”. 


“We will continue to monitor the reef and capture real-time data to inform best practice coastal management strategies,” said Mayor Tate. 


The artificial reef is approximately 270 metres offshore, is 160 metres long and 80 metres wide and was constructed using 60,000 tonnes of boulders. 


The structure influences surrounding waves and currents to promote a long-term increase in sand along vulnerable sections of Palm Beach.


The increase in sand is located just offshore within the surf zone, which is not always distinctly visible to beach users however acts as a protective buffer. 


The City continues to monitor the reef and capture real-time data to inform best practice coastal management strategies. 


The City has been a leader in coastal management for more than 50 years – overseeing one of the world’s longest coastal monitoring and analysis programs that includes shoreline monitoring, offshore wave buoys, wave tracking data, hydrographic survey, and LiDAR technologies.