What Is the Difference Between a Strait and a Channel?

A strait is a narrow waterway that connects two large bodies of water, while a channel is a wide waterway that passes between two neighboring land masses. For example, the Strait of Gibraltar connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. The English Channel separates Southern England from Northern France.

Other examples of straits include the Strait of Bosporus and the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait of Bosporus connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and it serves as one part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. The Strait of Hormuz connects the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Strait of Hormuz is an important strategic waterway that can be used to restrict seafaring traffic from accessing or exiting the Persian Gulf.

Other examples of channels include the Mozambique Channel, the North Channel and St. George’s Channel. The Mozambique Channel is a waterway of the Indian Ocean that lies between the island nation of Madagascar and Mozambique. The North Channel is a waterway that separates Great Britain from Ireland in the northern section of the Irish Sea. St. George’s Channel is another waterway that separates Ireland and Great Britain, but it is located in the southern section of the Irish Sea.