Coastal BoK:

Academy of Coastal, Port, Ocean, and Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE)

Body of Knowledge for Coastal Engineering 


The ACOPNE Coastal Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK) is to be used by ACOPNE evaluation panels to determine if candidates for Diplomate certification qualify for certification.

The intent of the CEBOK is not to establish a checklist of requirements, but to provide a template by which the Academy can more uniformly evaluate a candidate’s education and experience, reducing but not eliminating subjectivity.

The American Society of Civil Engineers BOK lists the outcomes necessary for Professional Licensing in 24 Categories. Coastal Engineering Certification requires the same levels as the ASCE BOK plus mastery of at least one advanced technical outcome in coastal engineering under ASCE BOK Outcomes 5 through 24.

We define “Mastery” of an outcome to mean that the engineer has reached the level of expertise such that more challenging, complex, and difficult problems may be solved than can be addressed by an ordinarily competent licensed engineer.

Mastery of a topic can be demonstrated by planning, designing, constructing, operating, managing, regulating, or researching coastal projects of geographic or type diversity at the expert level with increasing levels of responsibility and difficulty, teaching advanced courses on these topics, authoring or coauthoring papers and contributing to books, and contributing to the profession, such as through society committees, on these topics. Mastery may be manifested as exceptional expertise in a single area or as recognized expertise in multiple topic areas.

The CEBOK consists of:

  • Fulfillment, at the level required for licensure, of all 24 outcomes in the ASCE BOK.
  • Fulfillment, at the expert level of at least one outcome from the ASCE BOK Outcomes 5 Through 24 as related to one or more Coastal Engineering categories from the listing below so as to demonstrate mastery of the discipline.


Technical outcomes below will be used by the ACOPNE Board of Trustees or a Board-designated examination panel to evaluate applicants for certification.

Coastal Engineering

General Knowledge

  • Life cycle planning and management
  • Codes and standards, risk assessment
  • Engineering economics; cost-benefit analysis
  • Field investigations and data acquisition, analysis and interpretation
  • Coastal Engineering fundamentals to define environmental forcing, design conditions, siting, and permitting requirements: water waves, tides, sediment transport, coastal construction
  • Safety & security of environment, public use, private/public property
  • Adverse and beneficial environmental impacts analysis
  • Sustainability planning, design and analysis
  • Environmental law and policy with respect to coastal engineering projects

Hydrodynamics and Environmental Forcing

  • Large and small-scale hydrodynamics of tides and wind waves
  • Tide and wave prediction and measurement
  • Wave transformation; influence of mean flows, winds, and roughness
  • Time series analysis of environmental data; wave data analysis
  • Floods and storms (high- to low-frequency events)
  • Storm surge and wave setup/setdown; frequency analysis
  • Bathymetry, topography and hydrographic surveys
  • Flows in estuaries; stratification/density effects
  • Modeling of hydrodynamics (numerical and physical)
  • Transport of constituents or contaminants (heat, salt, pollutants)

Shore Protection and Coastal Structures

  • Hydrodynamics of tides and wind waves
  • Tide and wave prediction
  • Time series analysis of environmental data
  • Floods and storms (high- to low-frequency events)
  • Forces due to waves, winds, and currents; frequency analysis
  • Bathymetry, topography and hydrographic surveys
  • Cold, seismic, tsunami and other hazards
  • Sediment characteristics and transport
  • Effectiveness and impacts of seawalls, groins, jetties, revetments, breakwaters, and beach nourishment
  • Structural design (hard structures; beach nourishment)
  • Modeling impacts of structures (via numerical and physical models)
  • Materials for coastal structures
  • Structural foundations; scour; geotechnical investigations

Construction, Maintenance and Monitoring

  • Contracting – plans, specifications and inspecting
  • Permitting requirements
  • Hydrographic surveying, sediments analysis and monitoring
  • Dredging and placement of dredged material
  • Environmental impacts
  • Construction management
  • Performance analysis and assessment
  • Project sustainability and lifetime
  • Maintenance management


Approved by the ACOPNE Board of Trustees September 16, 2016