The purpose of this page is to define freeboard, a commonly used term in floodplain management.
Freeboard is a factor of safety usually expressed in feet above a flood level for purposes of floodplain management. "Freeboard" tends to compensate for the many unknown factors that could contribute to flood heights greater than the height calculated for a selected size flood and floodway conditions, such as wave action, bridge openings, and the hydrological effect of urbanization of the watershed. Freeboard is not required by NFIP standards, but communities are encouraged to adopt at least a one-foot freeboard to account for the one-foot rise built into the concept of designating a floodway and the encroachment requirements where floodways have not been designated. Freeboard results in significantly lower flood insurance rates due to lower flood risk.
- IS-9 Managing Floodplain Development Through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (Page 6-16)
- Ensuring That Structures Built on Fill In or Near Special Flood Hazard Areas Are Reasonably Safe From Flooding (FIA-TB-10) (Page 6)