U. S. Domestic Shipbuilding and Repair Industry’s Considerations of Coastal Hazards Resiliency: A Baseline Survey

The impact of coastal hazards to the shipbuilding industry presents potential risks to our nation’s shipbuilding strength by long-term disrupted operations affecting military and commercial ship orders, and ship maintenance and repairs.  This research will gauge the U.S. domestic shipbuilding industry’s considerations of coastal hazards resiliency and adaptation and the possible impacts on shipbuilding and repair contracts and deliverable

U.S. shipbuilding and repair yards are largely located in areas highly susceptible to coastal hazards impacts. Coastal hazards impacts, like a projected sea level rise of .6 m to 2.0 m, increased tidal and storm surge flooding, and the potential doubling of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes by 2100, will increasingly be drivers in efforts to minimize the significant impacts to our nation’s shipbuilding operations.  Shipyards located on and near U.S. coasts and tidal rivers will be affected by extremely high tides and flooding, creating multiple challenges to the industry such as crane, drydock and slipway operations; impacts on fabrication structures; machinery and supply warehouses; as well as critical support elements including roads, railways and parking.

In partnership with the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, the University of Rhode Island will conduct an online survey of a representative body selected from U. S.  parent shipbuilding companies and shipyards that build, repair, maintain, modernize, and supply the nation’s domestic fleet.  The purpose of this survey will be focused on a better understanding of the developing relationship between the U. S. shipbuilding industry and coastal hazards adaptation and resiliency challenges. This survey will address coastal hazards issues such as:

  • The types and levels of coastal hazards weather events which would pose challenges to shipbuilding operations.
  • The extent of preparations for operational resiliency due to future coastal hazards weather predictions.  
  • The specific measures, practices, and polices shipyards have taken to prepare for future coastal hazards-related weather events.
  • Coastal hazards adaptation and resiliency considerations as a strategic agenda item.
  • The potential degradation of U. S. national security as a result of a weakened shipyard industry due to inadequate coastal hazards resiliency preparations.

 Results will establish a baseline regarding the industry’s coastal hazards concerns, planned actions, and policies.  This new information can be used to determine common industry coastal hazard interests, challenges, and concerns, and to help foster a continued safe, secure, healthy, sustainable and resilient shipbuilding and repair environment well into the future.

Primary Investigator:   Dr. Austin Becker         p: (401) 636-0430           e:  abecker@uri.edu

Researcher:  CAPT Dave Hill, USCG (Ret.)        p: (410) 610-8721           e:  Capt_Hilll@uri.com