Amphibious ops

Transporting People and Material from Ship to Shore

By Dr. Ann Griffiths, 11 February 2022

We’ve all seen depictions of the D-Day landings in France in the Second World War. These landings provide a classic example of how navies transport people and materiel to shore. A recent example would be humanitarian assistance or disaster response missions -- the RCN response following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 for example. In these missions, a key element is transporting people and food, water, building materials to shore, often in the absence of port infrastructure. How is this done? Well, as the 43rd in the Naval Association of Canada’s Briefing Note series explains, there are a variety of methods. There are:

• floating pontoon platforms (in the British tradition these are referred to as Mexeflotes1);

• landing craft that can be launched off the deck of a ship via a crane;

• helicopters to transfer people and material; and

• landing craft that can be floated on/off a ship via well deck on the ship.

This Briefing Note first discusses these options, and then examines the capabilities of the RCN in this regard. Check out Briefing Note #43 Ship-to-Shore Connectors, available at

1Where does the word ‘Mexeflote’ come from? The name can be traced back to the United Kingdom. In 1946 the Experimental Bridging Establishment (EBE) of the Royal Engineers merged with several other organizations to form the Military Engineering Experimental Establishment (MEXE). It was responsible for many innovative research, logistic and military engineering projects, including the Mexeflote. “A Trip Down Mexeflote Lane,” Think Defence, 3 April 2011,


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Transporting People and Material from Ship to Shore”