Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: RubyO on 21/05/2019 10:06:39

Title: Do boat wakes cause erosion?
Post by: RubyO on 21/05/2019 10:06:39
Paul made waves in our inbox with this question:

The Chinese and others are talking about making use of a northern sea route to Europe. If this becomes very busy, will not the wakes of large vessels aggravate the erosion of the ice around the Arctic?

He also had some ideas about how we could modify boat wakes:

Would hovercraft would have a lesser effect, but then it would take massive power to elevate a supertanker or other fully laden vessel, so that is probably not a sensible question. If the vessels had sausage-like floats on either side of them which could deflect the wake back against the vessel, or would that just increase the friction of the vessel and necessitate stronger motors?

The other thing is that the wake would be generated by the propellors at the aft of the vessel, so that negates the suggestion of sausage like floats. How about having two main propellors aft which cause the wake to not spread outwards but be thrust together, out of phase so they neutralise the wake?

What are your thoughts?
Title: Re: Do boat wakes cause erosion?
Post by: alancalverd on 21/05/2019 18:50:39
Putting more energy into the sea, whether by boat wake or hovercraft spray, increases the erosion of ice. But that is the whole point of a northern sea route!