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Wharf vs Dock vs Pier vs Quay vs Slip vs Berth vs Jetty vs Levee

Wharf, dockpierquayslipberthjettylevee signify a structure used by boats and ships for taking on or landing cargo or passengers.

Wharf applies to a structure projecting from the shore that permits boats or ships to lie alongside for loading or unloading.

Dock is usually interchangeable with wharf but can be restricted to signify an enclosed basin which permits the entrance of a vessel for loading or unloading or which, with floodgates and a method of exhausting water, can be used for building or repairing ships.

Pier is interchangeable with dock or wharf especially as applied to a large or long structure shooting out quite a distance into a body of water.

Quay usually refers to an artificial enbankment lying along or projecting from a shore and mainly used for loading or unloading; the term normally applies to wharves or piers characteristic of small places.

Slip can apply to a sloping ramp usually constructed or used where the shore is high and shore water shallow, but it, like berth , can denote the space between two piers or wharves which gives room for a ship when anchored or not in use, and is more common for such a space intended or used for ferryboat landings or boardings.

Jetty although commonly applied to a structure serving as a breakwater for a harbor applies also to a small and usually not very substantial pier of timbers.

Levee primarily applies to an embankment for confining or restricting floodwaters but in the South and West, where a levee is often used for landing, the term is often the equivalent of quay .