Thousands of people find employment and recreation at our nation’s waterfronts. GEI provides waterfront and coastal services for large, small, private, and public facilities.


Project Types

Commercial marine facilities include municipal fish piers, state piers, ferry docks, marine railways, and commercial marinas. These facilities serve a wide range of vessels including passenger ferry vessels, visiting vessels/tall ships, excursion vessels, cruise ships, offshore supply vessels, commercial fishing vessels, and water taxis. Waterfront engineering design and planning services include planning, permitting, project management, design, and construction administration services.

Marine railways are key maintenance facilities for smaller ships and vessels. GEI offers services for inspection, certification, and design associated with these specialized facilities.

Municipal Fishing Piers

Municipal fish piers provide public facilities for commercial fishing and are a vital component to coastal cities’ and towns’ economic development. These facilities are often mixed-use with commercial fishing vessels operating alongside recreational vessel public landings and services such as fueling. GEI understands the many operations which often have conflicting needs and can help to develop safe facilities. GEI inspects, designs, and prepares construction documents for municipal piers that are designed to meet the aggressive environment, including waves and flooding, while being sensitive to historical or community aesthetics.

Passenger/Ro-Ro-Ferry Terminals

Ferries and water taxis can offer a great transportation alternative for coastal cities and towns. GEI provides specialized expertise in planning, operational analysis, design, environmental studies, permitting, and construction of ferry terminals. We maintain a group of engineers dedicated to ferry terminal planning and design and are familiar with ADA requirements associated with passenger vessel operations.

Multi-Use Dock and Loading Facilities

Multi-use dock and loading facilities are essential to the commercial maritime community. Based on extensive experience, GEI understands the shoreside requirements of small cruise ships, small cargo vessels, excursion vessels, and offshore supply. Commercial docks are an integral part of a coastal community and are an attraction for tourism, shopping, and recreational activities. GEI offers services at each stage of a facility’s lifecycle to include planning, design, construction, and operations for commercial waterfront facilities.

Marine Railways

Marine railways are key maintenance facilities for smaller ships and vessels. GEI offers services for inspection, certification, and design associated with these specialized facilities.


Key Services

Inspection and Assessment

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GEI’s team of engineer divers specialize in waterfront structural engineering and design. We provide facility inspection and assessments which include above water and underwater structural inspections, underwater still and video photography, material testing, definition of necessary repairs and estimation of remaining life. Our divers are all certified for FHWA – NHI Underwater Bridge Inspection. Our services include:

  • Emergency Response Assessments.
  • Above and Underwater Assessments of Structural Elements.
  • Engineering Assessment of Facility Life Expectancy.
  • Determination of Fender and Mooring System Adequacy.
  • Determination of Alternatives for Restoration or Improvement.
  • Documentation and Rating of Current Conditions.
  • Providing Program for 5-year Monitoring/Assessment with Recommendations for Maintenance and Repair.
Vessel Berthing and Mooring Design

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GEI provides services for berthing fender layout and design for a wide range of facilities including municipal fishing piers, ferry landings, oil terminals, cruise terminals, and container terminals. All of these facilities have their own constraints to meet operational needs and our engineers are accustomed to meeting those needs. We provide design of fenders and dolphins including timber dolphins and heavier duty concrete/steel pile dolphins. We offer engineering design and planning services including project management, design, permitting, bidding, and construction administration services.

Mooring analysis for commercial vessels is a key requirement for safe economic design. GEI engineers use Optimoor software and other methods to analyze the complex loadings from wind, wave, and current on moored vessels and the associated loads on the mooring equipment. We are familiar with OCIMF recommendations for mooring tankers and have performed analyses and assessments for a number of oil terminals. GEI can assist with design and layout of mooring systems and their supporting structures.

Timber, Steel and Concrete Pier Design and Repair
Bulkhead Design and Repair

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GEI’s roots are in geotechnical engineering, and shoreline engineering remains a principal specialty. GEI has extensive experience in the geotechnical analysis and design of waterfront structures including bulkheads, seawalls, piles, and heavy structures. Our services include evaluation of existing bulkheads, assessment of the influence of dredging on the stability of bulkheads and channel slopes, geotechnical design of wharves and piers, design of bulkheads and retaining walls, riprap design, evaluation of granite seawalls, and sediment characterization.

ADA Compliant Design

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Waterfront facilities need to be designed for compliance with ADA regulations. Although any new design has to be ADA compliant, ADA regulations have special requirements relating to passenger vessel terminals and ferry landings, marinas, boat ramps, and fishing piers. Many of these facilities require specialized design to meet the requirements through the full tidal range. GEI has designed ferry landings for passenger vessel access for tidal ranges in excess of 12 feet.
GEI engineers routinely incorporate these requirements when appropriate and can offer an innovative approach to help clients navigate the complex constraints.

Aluminum Gangways
Barge Design

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Ferries and water taxis are a key component for public transportation for many waterfront communities. Many ferry and taxi landings are floating structures to facilitate passenger transfer through the range of water levels. GEI provides specialized expertise for American Bureau of Shipping compliant design of moored floating barges including planning and feasibility studies, vehicle/vessel transfer systems, passenger/vessel transfer systems, passenger queuing and processing areas, ADA requirements, and bow loading ferry configuration design.

Hydrographic Survey

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GEI offers in-house hydrographic (bathymetric) surveys to support our clients whether it be a berth survey, dredge payment survey, or existing conditions survey for planning and design. GEI can provide single-beam hydrographic, multi-beam hydrographic, and side scan sonar surveys to achieve the needs of the client in an efficient manner. Utilizing the data of the hydrographic surveys, GEI can create 3D dredge prisms, color banded comparison surfaces, and perform detailed volumetric analysis for dredging. GEI’s single beam surveys provide an economical approach for shallow depth surveys. Multibeam and side scan sonar provide in-depth mapping of the seafloor and can provide 3D modeling of underwater obstructions or debris.

Dredging Design

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Dredging projects present a unique set of challenges for planning, design, permitting, and material disposal. GEI’s knowledge of the requirements helps our clients to navigate this complex process. The biggest challenge for most dredging projects is cost-effective disposal of the dredged material. We have experience completing projects requiring CAD Cell disposal, offshore disposal, upland disposal, and beach nourishment. GEI’s in-house expertise includes a large group of environmental engineers to assist with contaminated site remediation. We offer hydrographic surveys, dredge material sampling and testing, feasibility analysis, assessment of alternative disposal options, design, permitting, and bid and construction phase support.


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