Free online overtopping tool

Overtopping events are set to increase in both frequency and severity Overtopping events are set to increase in both frequency and severity
Industry Database

Bayonet GPE, the free online overtopping tool developed by industry experts at HR Wallingford, is now live for coastal engineers to use.

The tool builds on more than three decades of computer modelling in the field, and employs sophisticated statistical modelling to predict overtopping with a wider range of information than ever before.

Since HR Wallingford developed the first wave overtopping computer model in the 1980s, the field has moved on apace. The latest model, Bayonet GPE, uses the powerful statistical ‘Gaussian Process Emulator’ (GPE) technique, replacing the more traditional neural network model. Used to predict overtopping, GPE modelling better predicts uncertainty by capturing a wide range of sources, including the fitting process and errors from laboratory data that historically haven’t been taken into account. Uncertainty has significant implications at the design stage of a project so better overtopping predictions are a big advantage when conceiving coastal structures. Dr Tim Pullen, project director at HR Wallingford, says: “Bayonet GPE allows engineers to test a wide range of sea wall types and specifications – such as berms, rock-armoured toes and upper walls – against a detailed range of sea conditions.  We hope the tool will be invaluable to coastal engineers and professionals throughout the industry.” The tool is easy and intuitive to use, with features such as ‘sliders’ that enable designers to understand the sensitivity of model outputs to a range of parameters. A simple green ‘thumbs up’ or red ‘thumbs down’ provides the user with an indication of the validity of the calculations being undertaken by the model.

HR Wallingford is receiving very positive feedback from those already using Bayonet GPE. Dr Eleni Anastasaki, Maritime and Coastal Engineer at engineering firm Ove Arup said: “Bayonet GPE is a significant improvement on the models we have used before. The increased finesse means we are more confident about predicting overtopping.” Bayonet GPE has just completed beta-testing and as a result has been transferred to a new platform. It is now fully operational and available at no cost to the user at So, with its accuracy and usability, Bayonet GPE is truly at the cutting-edge of coastal engineering know-how.

The tool is available to use at

By Jake Frith

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