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Traditional breakwaters are enormous in size and generally associated with large scales in building materials, work and cost. The evolution of large breakwater schemes with inadequate design and management may trigger a number of adverse impacts on neighbouring coastal surroundings, e.g. large amount of wave reflection, adjustment of beach morphology, water quality deterioration and change from marine ecosystem. To alleviate the aforementioned issues, various ingenious designs of light-weight breakwaters are proposed, analyzed and constructed in the past as options to the conventional breakwaters, among which will be the free surface breakwaters. Free surface breakwaters are basically barriers located near the water surface where the energy flux is maximal. The entire height of such barriers is generally far smaller than the water depth which assists water flow around the constructions. These barriers can be assembled on a group of piles driven into sea ground, or held floating as floating breakwaters. Wave reflection and dissipation are the principal energy borne mechanisms inherited with these barriers. Free surface breakwaters are most appropriate to be constructed in semi-protected sites where the soil condition is inferior. The current analysis is motivated by the construction of bottom-mounted semicircular breakwaters in Miyazaki Port (Japan), Tianjin Port (China) and Yangtze River Estuary (China) for sea defence. Extensive studies on these breakwaters were undertaken by numerous researchers in Japan, China and India, e.g. Tanimoto et al. (1989), Sasajima et al. (1994), Xie (1999), Dhinakaran et al. (2002), Yuan and Tao (2003) and Zhang et al. (2005). Even though a variety of studies are reported in the literature related to...