We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Cofferdam?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
InfoBloom is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At InfoBloom, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A cofferdam is a type of watertight construction designed to facilitate construction projects in areas that are normally submerged, such as bridges and piers. One is installed in the work area and water is pumped out to expose the bed of the body of water so that workers can construct structural supports, enact repairs, or perform other types of work in a dry environment. In some regions of the world, this construction is better known as a caisson. Working inside a cofferdam can be hazardous if it is installed improperly or not safely pressurized, but advances in engineering have led to increased safety for workers using this unique work environment.

A variety of materials can be used to construct a cofferdam, which is truly a feat of engineering. Although it is a temporary structure, it must reliably hold water back from the work area and also withstand very high pressures in order to be safe, and the construction is often used as a project for engineers learning their craft. The most basic type uses sheet metal, which is pounded into the bed of the body of water to create a watertight wall. Next, pumps are used to pull water out of the enclosure so that it will be dry. Some are built from wood or concrete, while others use a double walled mechanism, with filler made from aggregate materials in between the two walls.

The walls of a cofferdam can extend all the way to the surface of the water, leaving it open at the top, or it can be built as an enclosed structure. In very deep water, enclosed and pressurized ones are used for worker safety, while in shallower bodies of water, an open structure can be used. Workers access a closed cofferdam through hatches and tubes, and care is taken to make sure that the air supply is consistent and the pressure is kept at a normal level.

Shipwrights and repair yards also use a portable version, which can be attached to the side of a ship to enact repairs below the waterline. At sea, this can be a useful way to quickly address potential problems until the ship is taken into dry dock for more long-term repair. Minor repairs can also be undertaken with a portable one in a shipyard to avoid the expense of hauling the ship into dry dock for the work to be completed.

InfoBloom is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By bill55 — On Oct 12, 2011

We had great success using a temporary cofferdam supplied by Dam-it Dams.

By Dipan — On Jun 24, 2009

I would like to know that what kind of care we have to take after establishing cofferdams/or I would like to know which will be the best provision for disposal of water?

By anon991 — On May 10, 2007

what type of Cofferdam used on the construction of the 3GORGES DAM IN China? what is the recent problems they encountered during the construction?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
InfoBloom, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

InfoBloom, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.