harbor

harbor

[hahr-ber]
harbor: see port.

Inlet, southern coast of Oahu island, Hawaii, U.S. It lies 6 mi (10 km) west of Honolulu, forming a landlocked harbour connected with the Pacific Ocean. In 1887 Hawaii granted the U.S. the exclusive use of the harbour as a coaling and repair station, and in 1908 a naval station was established. In 1941 the harbour was attacked without warning by the Japanese air force, causing great loss of life and precipitating U.S. entry into World War II. It is now the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Learn more about Pearl Harbor with a free trial on Britannica.com.

A harbor or harbour (see spelling differences), or haven, is a place where ships may shelter from the weather or are stored. Harbors can be man-made or natural. A man-made harbor will have sea walls or breakwaters and may require dredging. A natural harbor is surrounded on most sides by land.

Harbors and ports are often confused. A port is a man-made coastal or riverine facility where boats and ships can load and unload. It may consist of quays, wharfs, jetties, piers and slipways with cranes or ramps. A port may have magazine buildings or warehouses for storage of goods and a transport system, such as railway, road transport or pipeline transport facilities for relaying goods inland.

Natural harbors

A natural harbor is a landform where a part of a body of water is protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage. Natural harbors have long been of great strategic and economic importance. Many of the great cities of the world are located on a natural harbor. Having a protected harbour reduces or eliminates the use of breakwaters as it will result in calmer waves inside the harbour.

Ice-free harbors

For harbors near the poles, being ice-free is an important advantage, ideally all-year round. Examples are Murmansk (Russia), Petsamo (Russia, formerly Finland), Hammerfest, Vardø, and Prince Rupert (Canada). The southern-most harbor, at Antarctica's Winter Quarters Bay (77°50′S), presents a potentially ice-free harbor, dependent on summer pack ice conditions.

Temporary harbors

Sometimes a harbor is needed where one isn't available due to damage, such as in times of war. In this case a temporary harbor may be built and transported in pieces to the location. The most notable of these were the two Mulberry harbours used during the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II.

Notable harbors

The following are large natural harbors:

Artificial harbors are frequently built for use as ports. The largest artificially created harbor is in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The busiest harbor is the twin Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach in southern California in the United States.

Other notable harbors include:

See also

Notes

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