A wharf or quay ( /ˈkiː/, US also /ˈkeɪ/ or /ˈkweɪ/) is a structure on the shore of a harbor where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers. Such a structure includes one or more berths (mooring locations), and may also include piers, warehouses, or other facilities necessary for handling the ships.
A wharf commonly comprises a fixed platform, often on pilings. Commercial ports may have warehouses that serve as interim storage areas, since the typical objective is to unload and reload vessels as quickly as possible. Where capacity is sufficient a single wharf with a single berth constructed along the land adjacent to the water is normally used; where there is a need for more capacity multiple wharves, or perhaps a single large wharf with multiple berths, will instead be constructed, sometimes projecting into the water. A pier, raised over the water rather than within it, is commonly used for cases where the weight or volume of cargos will be low.
Smaller and more modern wharves are sometimes built on flotation devices (pontoons) to keep them at the same level as the ship, even during changing tides.
In everyday parlance the term quay is common in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many other Commonwealth countries, and the Republic of Ireland, whereas the term wharf is more common in the United States. In some contexts wharf and quay may be used to mean pier, berth, or jetty.
In old ports such as London (which once had around 1700 wharves ) many old wharves have been converted to residential or office use.
King Henry's Wharves, typical London wharves converted to apartments
Wharf by Marriott/Pacquereau Bay on St. Thomas
Tourist boat loading passengers at a small quay, Sa Calobra, Majorca, Spain
Read more about Wharf: Etymology
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... The word wharf comes from the Old English hwearf, meaning "bank" or "shore", and its plural is either wharfs or wharves collectively a group of these is referred to as a wharfing or wharfage ... It has been suggested that wharf actually is an acronym for ware-house at river front,but it is actually a backronym created by Thames river boat guides ... Another explanation may be that the word wharf comes from the Dutch word "werf" which means "yard", an outdoor place where work is done, like a shipyard or a lumberyard ...
... Mallinson's Wharf Bridge Wharf (site of original West India Docks Limehouse Upper Entrance) Charrington Barge Yard Locke's Wharf Union Docks, later Union Docks Wharf Canary Wharf ...
... Sharps (formerly, Griffin, Milden, Milden Village, Milden Wharf, Milton, Milton Wharf, Sharp's Wharf, and Sharps Wharf) is an unincorporated community in ...
... The Louisa Street Wharf was a Wharf in New Orleans, most popularly known as the location for the filming of the "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" music video ... The wharf was rebuilt in 1938 as a WPA project to revitalize the area ... The wharf buildings were torn down sometime between 1998 when the Microsoft Research Maps image was taken and 2002 when the image at Historicaerials.com was taken ...
Famous quotes containing the word wharf:
“They commonly celebrate those beaches only which have a hotel on them, not those which have a humane house alone. But I wished to see that seashore where mans works are wrecks; to put up at the true Atlantic House, where the ocean is land-lord as well as sea-lord, and comes ashore without a wharf for the landing; where the crumbling land is the only invalid, or at best is but dry land, and that is all you can say of it.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)