Coastal waters

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From a geographical and ecological point of view, coastal waters are both coastal areas of the open sea and waters that are reciprocally connected to the open sea and are enclosed on several sides by land.


The term coastal waters thus encompasses very different water areas. The delimitation to the high seas is arbitrary for some coastal waters, by setting a distance to the baseline , the water edge at low tide .

The distinction between inner coastal waters and inland inland waters close to the coast is qualitatively possible:

  • The water level of coastal waters is at sea ​​level or follows its fluctuations, for example tides .
  • Inner coastal waters have a constant or at least frequent influx of seawater.


The classification of coastal waters has acquired legal significance through the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) . The classification is also important for the scientific evaluation and comparison of the ecological development of different coasts.

The classification of coastal waters takes into account both the spatial relationship of the various water bodies to the open sea, the coast and inland waters, as well as the chemical aspect of the salt content, scientifically referred to as salinity .

Inner coastal waters at the
mouth of the Oder: Oderhaff and Achterwasser , plus Peenestrom , Swine and Dziwna as sea gates; north of it the Pomeranian Bay as open coastal water

Classification according to spatial characteristics

Classification according to the nature of the water bed

  • rocky
  • sandy
  • muddy

Classification according to salinity

  • euhalin - salinity corresponds to the ocean
  • polyhalin - salinity not much lower than in the ocean, example: Belt Sea as part of the western Baltic Sea
  • mesohalin
  • oligohalin - very low salinity, mainly inner coastal waters with large amounts of fresh water such as the lagoon.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Coastal waters  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations