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Logo. Feature : Harbour
One example for Feature : Harbour
A place where ships and other craft can seek shelter.

A harbour (also harbor) is a sheltered area of water where ships, boats, and barges can moor and is often situated along the coastline at the edge of the marine environment. This article describes some of the many features associated with harbours and their approaches from the sea. Harbours can be natural or artificially constructed.


An administrative area that encloses a harbour area, including the seaward approaches and all land facilities within its jurisdiction.
The sheltered waters within a port area. They are usually enclosed by moles, breakwaters, quays or natural land features.
An enclosed area of water surrounded by quay walls constructed to provide means for the transfer of cargos from and to ships.
An artificially enclosed area within which ships may moor and which may have gates to regulate water level.
Dry dock
An artificial basin fitted with a gate or caisson, into which vessels can be floated and the water pumped out to expose the vessel's bottom.
Floating dock
A form of dry dock consisting of a floating structure of one or more sections which can be partly submerged by controlled flooding to receive a vessel, then raised by pumping out the water so that the vessel's bottom can be exposed.
A named or numbered place where a vessel is moored at a wharf.
A terminal covers that area on shore which provides buildings and constructions for the transfer of cargos from and to ships.

Mapping a harbour

Either a node within the area of sheltered water, or an area enclosing that water should be tagged: harbour=yes. Where the water and land area of a harbour (including moles, quays, wharves, etc.) is enclosed by a way, it can also carry the tag: landuse=harbour (or landuse=port or landuse=industrial + industrial=port). The area of water within a harbour area, if not already part of natural=coastline or natural=water should be tagged: waterway=dock. (Also, see the seamark tagging.)

The name=* should be the set to the official name for the harbour in the local language. A large harbour may consist of a number of separate basins and/or docks which many have their own names. Each may be enclosed by ways and tagged with their individual names in addition to the main harbour area. The land areas serving a port or harbour should more properly have landuse=* tag values with their specific usage (port_terminal, ferry_terminal, container_terminal, shipyard, wharf, quay, etc.).

A facility in which smaller pleasure boats and yachts are moored should be tagged using leisure=marina instead. Similarly a naval base should be tagged with landuse=military + military=base + military_service=navy.

Detailed tagging of harbour infrastructure is described in the page: Seamarks/Harbours#Harbour Information


Associated features

Features directly related to harbours
General amenities often found in harbours/marinas

See also