A significant drop in the ocean

Article image - A significant drop in the ocean Building a new reef on the Gold Coast will protect the vulnerable coastline.

City of Gold Coast, Queensland, has commenced construction on the $18.2 million Palm Beach Artificial Reef, to enhance the protection of one of City’s most vulnerable stretches of coastline.


The artificial reef is Phase 2 of the Palm Beach Shoreline Project, and is being constructed approximately 270 metres offshore from Nineteenth Avenue, Palm Beach. 

The reef will be built using large rock boulders sourced from South East Queensland quarries and weighing up to 8 tonne each. Once completed, it will be approximately 160 metres long and 80 metres wide, requiring a total of 50,000 tonne of rock. 

At its highest point, the reef will be 1.5 metres below the surface at average water level, identified with permanent marker buoys for marine safety. 

Mayor Tom Tate said the City worked with world leading coastal engineers and specialists to develop the unique design of the reef.

“The reef will influence the surrounding waves and currents to help promote a long term increase in sand along vulnerable sections of Palm Beach.” 

The increase in sand will generally be located just offshore, not always distinctly visible to beach users, but in a position to act as a protective buffer from erosion into the future.

Mayor Tate said that while the primary purpose of the artificial reef is coastal protection, surfing outcomes were considered during the design of the reef.

“Under certain swell conditions, there is predicted to be a wave breaking on the reef suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers.”

Scheduling of marine construction works must cater for the effects of weather impacting on construction. The project has been scheduled during the seasonally calmer winter months, with construction planned to be complete in October 2019. 

The construction of the reef will be undertaken using specialised marine equipment including split hopper barges, tug boats and a backhoe dredger.  

For further details and to see this unique piece of marine infrastructure come to life via a livecam visit the City’s website cityofgoldcoast.com.au/palmbeachshorelineproject.