The idea of a field laboratory was born at the Institute of Hydroengineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IBW PAN) in the middle sixties. The laboratory (research station) was proposed to investigate coastal phenomena at a chosen cross-shore profile in arbitrary weather conditions. The selected location of the station was Lubiatowo where in 1963-1965 first field campaign had been organised, with the use of amphibious vehicle and light tripods placed temporarily on the sea bed. There was a convenient building of an old inactive coastal rescue station, the shore was relatively stable and undisturbed by any structures and, finally, the distance of this location from IBW PAN headquarters in Gdańsk was rather small, see Fig. 1.
In 1968, some governmental funds enabled the rearrangement and extension of the building of the rescue station which was passed to IBW PAN by the Maritime Office of Gdynia. Thus the Coastal Research Station (CRS) Lubiatowo was established.
The choice of construction of the permanent measuring structures was not easy, as there were very few experiences on such installations in the world. Finally, multi-pile measuring towers were chosen, see Figs. 2 and 3. A row of 8 steel towers was constructed in 1970. They stretched from the shoreline 600 m offshore to the depth of 6-8 m and covered the entire zone of coastal bars. Each tower was originally equipped with two decks at different levels. The entire system of towers was linked with the cables for power supply and data transmission. The cables were suspended on a steel rope mounted at the towers tops. The rope was stretched between a special offshore structure and the tower at the shoreline. Further, the cables were buried in the ground between the beach and the laboratory building (Figs. 4 and 5), where they were connected to the controlling and registering devices.
Electronics at late sixties and early seventies were incomparable with the present one. Very few marine measuring devices were mass-produced. Therefore, many prototype sensors and apparatuses, as well as processing, registering and controlling devices were made at IBW PAN. The equipment was designed and constructed by a group of specialists who managed to come up with a number of very innovative technical solutions. Besides, the other equipment was assembled, as boats, lifts, pumps, off-road vehicles, hydrograph and geodetic instruments, radio-telephones etc. Some of those pioneer ventures seem now to be primitive, but they, however, gave rise to development of the development of field measurements at Lubiatowo.
In the eighties, a progress was done with the instrumentation. Some modern devices were purchased from western manufacturers, for instance the electronic equipment produced by the Interocean company. At present, almost all measurements are taken using professional modern mass-produced sensors.
In the long history of the IBW PAN Coastal Research Station (CRS) at Lubiatowo, most of the measuring towers were destroyed due to storm impacts and ice phenomena. At present, only two towers are fully operational, as well as the additional structure nearby the shoreline. However, because of enormous progress in the measuring techniques, many surveys are now carried out using autonomous devices mounted independently of the existing towers, on special small piles, driven by water jet into the sea bed in the coastal zone.