nautical structures built in ports when docks are installed. The chief purpose of berthing facilities is to facilitate a ship’s approach and mooring process. Such structures set along the shore are called quays, while those that protrude into the port waters at an oblique or right angle to the shore are called piers.
Berthing facilities are subdivided according to design features into solid types, pile-type structures, and structures on special foundations. Solid berthing facilities are built as solid walls composed of large stone blocks or as large-diameter shells. They may also be built as distinct supports, connected with one another—and sometimes to the shore—by spanning structures. Pile-type berthing facilities have either a row of piles that forms a solid wall, or bulwark, or they have a scaffold structure. Among berthing facilities on special foundations are those built on caissons. Berthing facilities are distinguished by cross section as vertical-wall types, sloping-wall types, and mixed types with semisloping or semivertical walls. The last two are used almost exclusively in river ports, where less depth along the dock is required.
The chief materials used in building berthing facilities are concrete, reinforced concrete, stone, and steel. The type and design are determined by operating requirements and by the warranted minimum depth at the dock, which may be as much as 25 m in seaports. Hydrological conditions, the nature of the base soil, and construction methods are also taken into account.
Berthing facilities include mooring bollards, bitts, and rings for securing mooring cables. Fenders, which are usually made of resilient materials in various shapes and are suspended in front of the berthing facilities, are provided to soften the impact when the ship is brought alongside or is driven against the dock by the wind. Dolphins are often used as fenders.