Settlement began in the 4th century BCE, as part of the reward program the king was introducing at that time. Flocks of migrants from then-Cheung Long City area settled in the Tsang-Mo-Um-Sha Archipelago, and survived on fishery.
Formerly named "Shau Wu Shek Island" (Traditional Chinese: 守護石島) in the pre-European contact era, the villagers formed a small fishing village on the southeast coast of the island. The village is named Shau Wu Village (守護村), and remains named this way today (even though outside the village, most people refer to the area by its township name, "Breakwater"). Today, the village is home to about 300 people.
Since the 1700s, the British have set up a breakwater to berth their ships during storms, the island has been renamed "Breakwater Island".
The island has a higher maximum elevation than all other islands in the Archipelago. The Shau Wu Shek Hill measures at 227 m above sea level.
A hiking trail leads up to the hill, and separates midway, with one trailing to the southwestern coast, and another trailing to the northeastern coast. A steep cliff is found on the northeast end of the island. There is a lookout and a gazebo on either end of the hiking trail.
The City-State of Watersauga maintains a Breakwater Country Park on the island, and is a popular tourist and hiking destination.
| Listing the islands from north to south|
Petite Ile • Grande Ile • Breakwater Island • Tseung Kwan Island • Stanley Island • British Island • Falkland Island • Spratly Island • Boon Island