Breakwaters protecting the Bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Defining measures to reinforce the historic Artha and Socoa breakwaters and improve protection of the bay


Breakwaters in Saint-Jean-de-Luz (France) - Client: Département des Pyrénées Atlantiques - Scale: 1:30

The Pyrénées Atlantiques departmental council is in charge of maintaining and operating the historic breakwaters protecting the Bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Ciboure. The Artha and Socoa breakwaters had developed extensive cracking and vertical fracturing, in addition to which stonework was missing in places, some armour facing units had been displaced and the structures were subject to wave overtopping.

To obtain a dimensional analysis with a view to reinforcing the structures, the departmental council called for tenders for the implementation of 2D physical model testing.

Wave load tests using a physical model

Wave load tests using a physical model | Artelia Hydraulics

The main aim of the physical model tests was to measure the pressures and loads generated by the breaking waves on the stone facings of the two structures being studied, the Artha and Socoa breakwaters.

The preliminary assessment of the hydraulic behaviour of the structures and of the pressures and forces under impactful wave action began with simulations using a numerical wave flume (IH2-VOF software).


Simulation in a numerical wave flume | Artelia Hydraulics
Simulation in a numerical wave flume (IH2-VOF software)



The information obtained from these numerical simulations provided valuable assistance to design the physical model.