The basin is in the form of a trapezium with a surface area of 6,000 m2 and has two slipways, one at each end of the beach, which covers 2,500 m2. The basin is made of concrete and is covered with a layer of 60 cm of sand on the upper foreshore. This thickness diminishes to zero at the bottom of the basin. Its surface area is around 3,500 m2 (on average). The concrete walls are on a 65% slope and the slope of the beach varies between 5 and 7%.
On the upper part of the beach, two cement covered walls, riprap made up of boulders and a bed of stones recreate different shoreline features. The basin is filled with seawater. At one end, a structure presenting three pipes of different diameters, simulating different types of outflow pipes, similar to those used along the shoreline, enables participants to practice using plugs or makeshift booms.
The beach is connected to the neighbouring deep-water basin by gravitational flow in the direction of the beach and by pumping in the other direction. This allows the water level to be adjusted, thus simulating the effect of tides. A water treatment system prevents build-up of algae and seaweed.
Whether for experiments or training courses, different types of oil can be released in near real-life conditions. This tool can also be used to test and demonstrate the use of amphibious vehicles.
During training courses, the participants are divided up into small groups, allowing them to work in small numbers on different topics (“workshops”). These workshops vary from one course to another. The workshops on offer include:
- a “spill reconnaissance and assessment” workshop
- a “sampling” workshop
- a “stone clean-up” workshop during which the participants implement several techniques and compare their efficiency
- a “riprap clean-up” workshop
- a “buried pollutant” workshop, which focuses on locating and recovering pollutant buried under a layer of sand
- an “outflow plugging and makeshift boom” workshop.
- a workshop on "plugging outfalls and building custom-made barriers".
Before each workshop, the participants are asked to define the roles within their group, determine the operations which will be carried out, organise the operation and set up effluent recovery systems.
At the end of each day, the participants are decontaminated in the decontamination zone, set up on the first day.
Images of these exercises can be seen in Cedre's presentation video.