What is a Harbor and Classification of Harbour-Harbour Engineering

Do you know what is a harbour and its classifications, don’t worry.Today I am going to answer your questions, what is a harbour and its classifications.

In a personal point of view, he can say that harbour is one of the beautiful things which everyone wishes to see once in a life.Simply he can say that there are several boats collected together for various purposes.

But we, engineers, don’t want to hear these explanations.Do you know what is the purpose or utility these harbours?I will give the correct explanation for your questions.

What is harbour?

Harbour can be defined as a basin or haven of navigable waters well protected naturally or artificially from the action of winds and waves.They are situated at sea-shore or river estuary or lake or canal connected to the sea.

Read MoreMarine or dock engineering

Classification of Harbour

There are a lot of Classification of Harbour.lets check each one.

Classification of Harbour


1.Natural Harbours or Natural Roadsteads 

Inlet protected from storms and waves by natural configuration of the land
A deep navigable channel with a protective natural bank or shoal to seaward is a good example of a natural roadstead.

2.Semi-natural Harbour

Protected on sides by headlands and requires man-made protection only at the entrance 

Eg: Vishakapatanam

3.Artificial Harbours Or Artificial Roadsteads

No natural facilities are available for the harbour.

Also known as man-made harbours.

An area protected from the effect of waves either by breakwaters.

Eg: Madras harbour

Artificial roadsteads – created by constructing a breakwater or wall parallel to the coast or curvilinear from the coast.

Read More: What is dredging.Types, Maintainance and Operation of dredging?


(1) Harbours of Refuge

All naval crafts small or big require refuge in an emergency

Modern big ships will require a lot of elbow room for turning and manoeuvring

Should provide commodious accommodation


  • Ready accessibility from the high seas
  • Safe and convenient anchorage against the sea.
  • Facilities for obtaining supplies and repairs

(2) Commercial Harbours

Not situated on coasts of big rivers or even on island river coast

Do not have any emergency demand


  • Spacious accommodation of mercantile marine
  • Ample quays space and facilities for transporting, loading and unloading cargo
  • Storage sheds for cargo
  • Good and quick repair facilities to avoid delay 
  • More sheltered conditions as loading and unloading could be done with advantage in calmer waters

(3) Fishery Harbours

Constantly open for departure and arrival of fishing ships.

Loading and unloading facilities & quick despatch facilities for the perishable fish catch.

Refrigerated stores with ample storing space for preserving the catch.

(4) Military Harbour

Should accommodate the naval vessels.

 They serve as supply depots also.

Bombay and Cochin harbours have naval bases.

(5) Marina Harbours

Marina is a harbour providing facilities for fuel, food, showers, telephones etc. for small boat owners having temporary or permanent berths


  • Large marinas – have 200 or more berths.
  •  Small marinas – have less than 100 berths.

Facilities Provided

  • Resort Facilities
  • Yacht Club 
  • Sport, Fishing Facilities 
  • Marina Pubs


(1) Canal Harbour

Harbour located along canals for sea navigations.

Dredging is negligible

(2) Lake Harbour

Harbour constructed along the shore of the lake.

No tidal action

(3) River Harbour

Also known as Estuary harbour

Harbour constructed along the banks of the river.

(4) Sea Or Ocean Harbour

Harbour located on the coast of the sea or an ocean.


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please add some diagrams.