The air gap response of a specific semi-submersible platform subjected to irregular waves is considered. Detailed model tests for this structure are studied in depth. Using time-histories of both motions and air gap, statistical analyses both for the absolute near-structure wave elevation (with respect to a fixed observer), and the relative wave elevation (with respect to the moving structure) are performed. Statistics of wave crest amplification, due to diffraction, are established. Corresponding amplification factors are derived from linear diffraction theory, and the results of theory and observations are critically compared.

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