A wharf is a man-made structure on a river or near the sea that offers a secure docking location for ships. A pier is a typically wooden structure that protrudes from the coast at a height higher than the sea level, allowing ships to offload people in deeper water further out. Piers can be constructed of concrete or rock. Wharves tend to be made of wood and metal; however, some modern wharves are made of concrete.
Piers were originally built to allow fishermen to walk along the edge of the shoreline and cast their nets into the water. As cities grew and became more industrial, piers began to be used for other purposes such as storage, workshops, and houses for workers. Today, most piers are still used for fishing but also serve as public parks, yacht clubs, and places where visitors can take photographs or just enjoy the view.
Wharves were originally used for the same purpose as piers: to provide a place for fishermen to dock their boats and sell their catch. Like piers, many wharves have been converted into other uses over time. Some remain as fishing villages while others have become part of larger cities.
Generally, wharves are smaller and less stable than piers. This is because they are designed to protect vessels from high waves rather than supply stability themselves. However, this does not make them any less useful.
A pier may be located within a wharf. A wharf is often composed of concrete, stone, or wood, whereas a pier is mainly made of wood. If passengers are unable to come to the coast, the Pier permits ships to conveniently discharge them. A pier is a raised platform above the water's surface, whereas a wharf is a building built along the beach. Piers can be made of stone, wood, or concrete, while wharves usually consist of concrete. Wharves are generally longer than piers; for example, a city waterfront might have several miles of pier but only a few hundred feet of wharf because it is impractical to build a large structure out in the ocean.
Piers and wharves were commonly used by fishermen to store their boats. Because fish were commonly kept in barrels, these structures were called fish markets. Today, they are used for many other purposes such as shopping, eating at restaurants, etc.
There are three types of piers: breakwater, coastal, and inland. A breakwater pier extends away from the shoreline and functions to protect the shoreline against erosion. They are used to create safe harbors for boats and to provide land for people to walk on when there is no beach nearby. Breakwater piers are usually built of rock or concrete. Coastal piers are found near beaches and act like protective arms against high tides.
The supply of or access to a wood or stone building on a body of water is referred to as a wharf. A wooden or stone building, occasionally roofed over, erected on the coast of a harbor, river, or other body of water. These structures were used for various purposes including but not limited to storage, trade, and entertainment. They were often used by fishermen as a place to store their boats while out of sight of land.
There are three main types of stone wharfs: breakwater, jetty, and tollgate. A breakwater is a protective barrier built into the sea to stop large waves from breaking over the shoreline. It can either be natural rock formations that accumulate debris and algae which protect coastal areas from erosion, or it can be an artificial structure built by humans. Jetty wharfs are long, narrow platforms that extend out into the water, usually from coastal roads or beaches. They provide a stable surface for loading and unloading cargo and vehicles, and they also act as a barrier between land and water. Tollgates are similar to jettys except that they do not extend into the water. Instead, they are located at one end of a bridge or tunnel and people pay a fee to go through them. The money collected goes towards maintaining the road or tunnel.
A wharf, quay, or staith (e) is a structure on the edge of a port or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and unload freight or people. Wharves are frequently thought of as a succession of docks where boats may be moored. However, a single boat may have multiple moorings, so this definition makes it sound like a place where you would land several different boats.
The word comes from the Dutch wijf, which means woman. The first wharves were built for use by ships carrying cargo and passengers to and from inland ports that were only accessible by water. They were usually constructed out in the harbor near an existing dock or market town and often included storage space for goods being transported by ship. These early wharves were usually made of wood and were eventually replaced by stone structures. Modern wharves are generally made of concrete or steel with some form of protection (such as grooves in the surface) designed to prevent large vessels from damaging them when they make contact.
In modern usage, the term wharf refers to any piece of waterfront property used for commercial purposes. This could be a full-scale commercial building, a simple shed, or even just a boardwalk over rough waters. Although most commonly found in ports, wharfs are also common in other coastal towns and cities around the world.