A roadstead (or ''roads'' – the earlier form) is a body of water sheltered from rip currents, spring tides, or ocean swell where
ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep waterways, carrying cargo or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fishing. Ships are generally distinguished ...
s can lie reasonably safely at
anchor An anchor is a device, normally made of metal , used to secure a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the craft from drifting due to wind or current. The word derives from Latin ''ancora'', which itself comes from the Greek ἄ ...
without dragging or snatching.United States Army technical manual, TM 5-360.
Port Construction and Rehabilitation
'. Washington: United States. Government Printing Office, 1964.
It can be open or natural, usually
estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environmen ...
-based, or may be created artificially. In maritime law, it is described as a "known general station for ships, notoriously used as such, and distinguished by the name".Black's Law Dictionary: What is ''roadstead''?


A roadstead can be an area of safe anchorage for ships waiting to enter a port, or to form a convoy. If sufficiently sheltered and convenient, it can be used for the
transshipment Transshipment, trans-shipment or transhipment is the shipment of goods or containers to an intermediate destination, then to another destination. One possible reason for transshipment is to change the means of transport during the journey (e.g ...
of goods, stores, and troops, either separately or in combination. The same applies in transfers to and from shore by lighters. In the days of sailing ships, some voyages could only easily be made with a change in wind direction, and ships would wait for a change of wind in a safe
anchorage Anchorage () is the largest city in the U.S. state of Alaska by population. With a population of 291,247 in 2020, it contains nearly 40% of the state's population. The Anchorage metropolitan area, which includes Anchorage and the neighboring M ...
, such as the Downs or Yarmouth Roads.

Notable roadsteads

* Basque Roads, France * Roadstead of Brest, France * Carrick Roads, England *
Castle Roads Castle Roads is the primary channel by which vessels enter Castle Harbour, Bermuda, from the Atlantic Ocean. Although little used, today, except by pleasure boats, Castle Harbour was once an important anchorage, and an access route used by ships ...
, Bermuda *
Cherbourg Harbour Cherbourg Harbour (French: ''rade de Cherbourg''; literally, the "roadstead of Cherbourg"), is a harbour situated at the northern end of the Cotentin Peninsula, on the English Channel coastline, in Normandy, northwestern France. With a surface ...
(''la Grande Rade''), France (artificial) * The Downs, England * Fayal Roads, Azores, Portugal ( Battle of Fayal) * Gage Roads, Western Australia *
Hampton Roads Hampton Roads is the name of both a body of water in the United States that serves as a wide channel for the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers between Old Point Comfort and Sewell's Point where the Chesapeake Bay flows into the Atlantic ...
, Virginia, US * Kossol Roads, Micronesia *
Lahaina Roads Lahaina Roads, also called the Lahaina Roadstead, is an anchorage in the ʻAuʻau Channel lying off the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in the Hawaiian archipelago and U.S. state of Hawaii. It lies in the lee of the West Maui Mountains ...
, Hawaii, US * Lingga Roads, near Singapore * The Nore, England *
Puget Sound Puget Sound ( ) is a sound of the Pacific Northwest, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and part of the Salish Sea. It is located along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected m ...
, Washington, US * Royal Roads, Canada * Scapa Flow, Scotland * Schillig Roads, Germany *
Spithead Spithead is an area of the Solent and a roadstead off Gilkicker Point in Hampshire, England. It is protected from all winds except those from the southeast. It receives its name from the Spit, a sandbank stretching south from the Hampshir ...
, England * Tail of the Bank, Scotland (Clyde estuary) * Roadstead of Tallinn, Estonia * Tiefwasserreede, Germany * Toulon Roads, France * Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands * Rede van Texel, Texel, Netherlands (historic) *
Roosevelt Roads Naval Station Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is a former United States Navy base in the town of Ceiba, Puerto Rico. The site operates today as José Aponte de la Torre Airport, a public use airport. History In 1919, future US President Franklin D. Roose ...
, Ceiba, Puerto Rico

See also

Anchorage Anchorage () is the largest city in the U.S. state of Alaska by population. With a population of 291,247 in 2020, it contains nearly 40% of the state's population. The Anchorage metropolitan area, which includes Anchorage and the neighboring M ...



External links

Harbor Types of the World's Large Sized Ports
, ''Hofstra University site''
Ports and Ocean Distances
''searoutes.com'' File:Singapore from above.jpg, Singapore roadstead File:MarseillesRade.jpg, Marseille Rade File:Dutch ships in the roadstead of Texel (the 'Gouden Leeuw' of Cornelis Tromp in the center)(Ludolf Backhuysen, 1671).jpg, Dutch ships in the roadstead of Texel, 1671 File:Roadstead of Villefranche-sur-mer.jpg, Roadstead of Villefranche-sur-mer File:Greek bunker vessel AGIA ZONI III at Piraeus roadstead funnel-mast 27 Jan 2007.jpg, Greek bunker vessel AGIA ZONI III at Piraeus roadstead File:Volvo Ocean Race 2012 in Lorient - Groupama 4 in the roadstead of Lorient.JPG, Volvo Ocean Race 2012 in the roadstead of Lorient File:HMS Harald Hårfagre or HMS Tordenskiold at the roadstead of Trondhjem (1906).jpg, HNoMS ''Harald Hårfagre'' or ''Tordenskiold'' at the roadstead of Trondheim, 1906 File:Jack Spurling - Golden Fleece lying at anchor in the roadstead.jpg, ''Golden Fleece'' lying at anchor in the roadstead (painting by Jack Spurling, 1929) {{Wiktionary, roadstead Water transport Coastal and oceanic landforms Nautical terminology