Coastlab08, the second international conference on the application of physical modeling to port and coastal protection, was held in Bari from 2–5 July 2008, and was organized by the Water Engineering and Chemistry Department of the Technical University of Bari, Italy, jointly with IAHR, the Apulian Section of the Italian Association of Hydrotechnique (Associazione Idrotecnica Italiana — Sezione Puglia) and the association Assieme per Essere, after its first organization in 2006 in Porto.The topics of Coastlab08 are really relevant nowadays. It is well known that the problem of coastal erosion, coastal defense, pollution diffusion in the sea and, generally speaking, of territorial risks are fundamental nowadays. The newspapers reports these topics in alarmist way, especially during the summer vacation period, when a lot of people can directly observe the bad situation of many beaches, but unfortunately these problems are present in any season (particularly in winter). All these themes, which now are very pressing, deserve new research program and experimental approach, and possibly also new laboratory techniques and cooperation between the different research groups. Coastlab08 was an important opportunity for many researchers to present articles on their studies on maritime hydraulics, such as coastal erosion and defense, and pollution diffusion and protection of the sea environment.