A harbor or harbour (see spelling differences), or haven, is a body of water where ships, boats, and barges can seek shelter from stormy weather, or are stored for future use. Harbors and ports are often confused with each other. A port is a facility for loading and unloading vessels; ports are usually located in harbors.

Harbors can be natural or artificial. An artificial harbor can have deliberately constructed breakwaters, sea walls, or jettys, or they can be constructed by dredging, which requires maintenance by further periodic dredging. An example of an artificial harbor is Long Beach Harbor, California, which was an array of salt marshes and tidal flats too shallow for modern merchant ships before it was first dredged in the early 20th century.

In contrast, a natural harbor is surrounded on several sides by prominences of land. Examples of natural harbors include Sydney Harbour, Australia and San Francisco Bay, California.


"For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness."
Carl Sagan
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