River and ocean kinetic hydropower involves the use of underwater turbines in external flow conditions. These conditions include reduced velocities due to the boundary-layer of the surrounding walls, and hazardous debris-laden flows such as rocks and boulders during coastal storms or branches and logs during spring run-off. A numerical investigation evaluates the effect of placing an object upstream of the turbine to improve flow velocity as well as create a protective wake zone into which the turbine can be moved during risky conditions. Six different object shapes are compared and critical design elements are identified. It is found that such an object can improve the downstream power density by over 15%, and create a large wake zone capable of accommodating a turbine. The object can also serve as an anchor thus providing added power without a significant expense in some application. Further study of the optimum object is performed. These additional analyses show a greater increase in power output is seen in the simulation when a turbine model is included. By increasing the expected power output, less attractive sites may become more commercially viable.