The paper addresses the problem of deriving the nonlinear, up to the second order, crest wave height probability distribution in front of a vertical wall under the assumption of finite spectral bandwidth, finite water depth and long-crested waves. The distribution is derived by relying on the Quasi-Deterministic representation of the free surface elevation in front of the vertical wall. The theoretical results are compared against experimental data obtained by utilizing a compressive sensing algorithm for reconstructing the free surface elevation in front of the wall. The reconstruction is pursued by starting from recorded wave pressure time histories obtained by utilizing a row of pressure transducers located at various levels. The comparison shows that there is an excellent agreement between the proposed distribution and the experimental data and confirm the deviation of the crest height distribution from the Rayleigh one.

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