The zone off the coast of a nation immediately seaward from a base line. Sovereignty is maintained over this coastal zone by the coastal nation, subject to the right of innocent passage to the ships of all nations. The United States recognizes this zone as extending 4.8 kilometers from the base line.

Related Terms


An ocean current flowing northwestward along the northeast coast of South America. The Guiana Current is an extension of the Atlantic South Equatorial Current, which crosses the equator and approaches the coast of South America. Eventually, it is joined by part of the Atlantic North Equatorial Current and becomes, successively, the CARIBBEAN ISLANDS, and the FLORIDA CURRENT. Also called NORTH BRAZIL CURRENT.


A North Atlantic Ocean current flowing eastward along the south coast of northwest Africa into the Gulf of Guinea. The Guinea Current is the continuation of the Atlantic Equatorial Countercurrent augmented by the eastern branch of the Canary Current.


Local name given to double low water occurring on the south coast of England


A drift current of the northeast Indian Ocean located north of the Indian Equatorial Countercurrent and south of the Bay of Bengal. During February and March when the northeast monsoon decreases in intensity, the monsoon drift is formed from the outflow of the Strait of Malacca and a small amount of north- westward flow along the upper southwest coast of Sumatra. Off the southwest coast of Sumatra, a current generally sets southeast during all months. It is strongest during October through April. The monsoon drift broadens as it flows westward and divides off the east coast of Sri Lanka, part joining the circulation of the Bay of Bengal and part joining the flow from the Arabian Sea. During April, the transition period between monsoons, the monsoon drift is ill-defined. A counterclockwise circulation exists between Sumatra and Sri Lanka. During May through October, the monsoon drift flows east to southeast. During November and December part of the monsoon drift is deflected into the Bay of Bengal and the remainder turns clockwise and flows southeastward.


A floating ice sheet attached to the coast and of considerable thickness, showing 20 to 50 meters or more above sea level. Usually of great horizontal extent and with a level or gently undulating surface, the ice shelf is augmented by annual snow accumulation and often also by the seaward extension of land glaciers. Limited areas of the ice shelf may be aground. The seaward edge is called


A North Atlantic Ocean current, one of the terminal branches of the Gulf Stream System (part of the northern branch of the North Atlantic Current); it flows toward the west off the south- west coast of Iceland. A small portion of the water of the Irminger Current bends around the west coast of Iceland but the greater amount turns south and becomes more or less mixed with the water of the East Greenland Current.


Rugged, rocky, as an ironbound coast


A narrow and localized nontidal current off the coast of Denmark between longitude


A name sometimes given to the nontidal current flowing southwestward along the northeast coast of the United States. This coastal current originates from part of the Labrador Current flowing clockwise around the southeastern tip of Newfoundland. Its speeds are fairly constant throughout the year and average about 0.6 knot. The greatest seasonal fluctuation appears to be in the width of the current. The current is widest during winter between Newfoundland and Cape Cod. Southwest of Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras the current shows very little seasonal change. The current narrows considerably during summer and flows closest to shore in the vicinity of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia and between Cape Cod and Long Island in July and August. The current in some places encroaches on tidal regions.


A North Pacific Ocean current flowing northeastward from Taiwan to the Ryukyu Islands and close to the coast of Japan. The Kuroshio is the northward flowing part of the Pacific North Equa- torial Current (which divides east of the Philippines). The Kuroshio divides near Yaku Shima, the weaker branch flowing northward through the Korea Strait and the stronger branch flowing through Tokara Kaikyo and then along the south coast of Shikoku. There are light seasonal variations in speed; the Kuroshio is usually strongest in summer, weakens in autumn, strengthens in winter, and weakens in spring. Strong winds can accelerate or retar

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