A floating market on one of Thailand's waterways

A waterway is any navigable body of water. Waterways can include rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, and canals. In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:

  • The waterway must be deep enough to allow the draft depth of the vessels using it;
  • The waterway must be wide enough to allow passage for the beam width of the vessels using it;
  • The waterway must be free of barriers to navigation such as waterfalls and rapids, or have a way around them (such as canal locks and boat lifts);
  • The current of the waterway must be mild enough to allow vessels to make headway.

Vessels using waterways vary from small animal-drawn barges to immense ocean tankers and ocean liners, such as cruise ships.



Canals are artificial waterways that are constructed to provide a new path of travel for vessels (as opposed to improving a natural waterway along its current course). At one time, canals were built mostly for small wooden barges drawn by horses or other draft animals. Today, major canals are built to allow passage of large ocean-going vessels (see Ship canal) to connect harbours with or create a shortcut between seas and existing waterways, such as the Kiel Canal between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, which is the most heavily used canal worldwide.

Tidal waterway

See also

European network of waterways


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Waterway — Wa ter*way , n. (Naut.) Heavy plank or timber extending fore and aft the whole length of a vessel s deck at the line of junction with the sides, forming a channel to the scuppers, which are cut through it. In iron vessels the waterway is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • waterway — O.E. wæterweg; see WATER (Cf. water) (n.1) + WAY (Cf. way) …   Etymology dictionary

  • waterway — ► NOUN ▪ a river, canal, or other route for travel by water …   English terms dictionary

  • waterway — [wôt′ərwā΄] n. 1. a channel or runnel through or along which water runs 2. any body of water wide enough and deep enough for boats, ships, etc., as a stream, canal, or river; water route …   English World dictionary

  • waterway — /waw teuhr way , wot euhr /, n. 1. a river, canal, or other body of water serving as a route or way of travel or transport. 2. Shipbuilding. (in a steel or iron vessel) a depressed gutter at the edge of the deck inside the bulwarks, used esp.… …   Universalium

  • waterway — UK [ˈwɔːtə(r)ˌweɪ] / US [ˈwɔtərˌweɪ] noun [countable] Word forms waterway : singular waterway plural waterways formal a river or canal that boats use for travelling from one place to another The Panama Canal is an important waterway …   English dictionary

  • waterway — n. an inland waterway * * * [ wɔːtəweɪ] an inland waterway …   Combinatory dictionary

  • waterway — wa|ter|way [ wɔtər,weı ] noun count FORMAL a river or CANAL that boats use for traveling from one place to another: The Panama Canal is an important waterway …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • waterway — [[t]wɔ͟ːtə(r)weɪ[/t]] waterways N COUNT A waterway is a canal, river, or narrow channel of sea which ships or boats can sail along …   English dictionary

  • waterway — vandens kelias statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Vandens ruožas, pritaikytas transporto priemonių eismui (upės, ežerai, kanalai, jūros). atitikmenys: angl. water carriage; waterway vok. Wasserverkehr, m; Wasserweg, f rus.… …   Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

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