Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique

Numéro : 2601 - Year : 2011

Rogues waves: what preoccupations for engineers?

Michel OLAGNON, IFREMER – Centre de Brest


Designers and naval architects can legitimately feel concerned as to whether freak waves, of unexpected severity, are correctly accounted for in current design practices and regulations.

We describe here the main findings related to that phenomenon, achieved mainly during the last decade by analysis of field data, theoretical developments and wave flume experiments.

It appears that conventional design methods are not actually challenged given the reliability levels required at present.

Nevertheless, freak or rogue waves remain a danger for operations and work at sea. The hypotheses for their generating mechanisms have still not been validated in actual seas, and it is thus not possible to forecast either precisely any increase in their risk of occurrence as a function of the prevailing conditions.

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