SlideMoor Tied to Boat 17 Clean copy

A Dock is a Dock is a Dock…or Is It?

What’s in a name? Well, if you want to talk about docks, quite a bit, because a “dock” conveys many meanings depending upon both location and usage.

In North America a dock is considered to be just about any man-made structure on the water designed to support people and materials above the water. In America the word is synonymous with wharf and pier, and most people tend to think of a dock as primarily being a wooden platform built from the shore and over the water so as to facilitate access to small boats. A dock can either be fixed and supported by pilings, or can be strictly a floater, attached to shore or to a fixed dock by lines or other means.

In the United Kingdom and most commonwealth countries, the word dock refers to an enclosed body of water that is specifically used for loading, unloading, building or repairing ships. These docks are generally man made by either excavation or the erection of harbour walls. The terms wet dock and dry dock, which are also used by the American marine industry, refer specifically to enclosed dock areas that utilize gates or locks to manipulate water levels around a ship, whether to facilitate cargo loading or to allow for repairs below the waterline.

Some non-marine definitions of the word dock include:

An area in criminal court specifically used for the seating of the accused;

The area on an animal where the tail joins the rump;

and, a user interface feature on computers.

While a pier is technically a dock, common American usage generally dictates that a pier is used to describe dock-like structures designed more for industrial and commercial uses, such as seafood processing, shipping and passenger cruise lines. A pier is also commonly used to describe those wooden or metallic structures that extend into the ocean from beaches so as to facilitate ocean fishing in waters deeper and farther from shore than can be reached by a surf caster.

A wharf is also technically a dock, but common definitions describe a wharf as being a fixed platform that generally rely on pilings, and also tend to stress that wharves include at least one berth or mooring location. In the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth countries the word “quay” is generally used in place of wharf.

A jetty is technically not a dock, but can be turned into one with the addition of pilings, walls or other structural additions that can create a space appropriate for ship docking.

With all of the above said, you can affix your SlideMoor docking system to whatever you want to call that thing you tie your boat to. Whether wharf, pier or dock, we know what you mean and we can make SlideMoor work for you.

M.J. Moye

M.J. Moye

M.J. Moye is an editorial consultant and sailor who lives in Chester, Nova Scotia.
M.J. Moye

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