Amazing Kids! Magazine

Word Booster – Ocean Terms

By Ryan Traynor, Editor-in-Chief


With this issue all about ocean adventures, you will see that in order to write stories about the ocean, you should become familiar with key terms. I hope you enjoy these “wet” words that you can use for your next watery adventure.

Bar: (noun) A submerged or emerged mound of sand, gravel or shell material built on the ocean floor in shallow water by waves and currents.

The bar’s top is kept below still-water level by the plunge of the waves breaking over it. 

Bay: (noun) A recess in the shore or an inlet of a sea between two capes or headlands, not as large as a gulf but larger than a cove.

Large ships transiting the bay in San Francisco must follow deep underwater channels that are maintained by frequent dredging as the average depth of the bay is only as deep as a swimming pool.

Beach: (noun) A zone of material that extends landward from the low water line to the place where there is marked change in material, or to the line of permanent vegetation.

They set up their blanket on the beach but had to keep moving back towards shore as the tide came in.

Dredging: (verb) The removal of sediment or the excavation of tidal bottom to provide acceptable depths to travel or moor boats, or to obtain material for construction or for beach nourishment.

The community objected to dredging the shoreline to clear space for the incoming hotels.

Dune: (noun) Any natural hill, mound or ridge of sediment landward of a coastal berm (a level space or raised barrier between areas) deposited by the wind or storm.

The sand dune created a good place near the ocean to watch the sunset.

Erosion: (noun) The wearing away of land by the action of natural forces – the carrying away of beach material by wave action, tidal currents, littoral currents, or the wind.

The erosion of the ocean beach was prevented by the creation of a seawall.

Estuary: (noun) The part of a river that is affected by tides. The region near a river mouth in which the freshwater of the river mixes with the saltwater of the sea.

The estuary was an excellent area for the students to observe the habitats of a large number of organisms, including salmon.

High Tide: (noun) The maximum elevation reached by each rising tide.

The visitors had to exit the beach at 7:00 because high tide would block their exits to the parking lots.

Jetty: (noun) A narrow, elongated coastal-engineering structure built perpendicular to the shoreline at inlets. A jetty is designed to prevent longshore drift from filling the inlet and to provide protection for navigation.

The jetty in the river was used to close in the widened channel to make it deeper in the area for river traffic.

Lagoon: (noun) A shallow body of water, as a pond or lake, usually connected to the sea.

The lagoon was separated from the ocean by a reef.

Low Tide: (noun) The minimum elevation reached by each falling tide.

At low tide the children were able to watch land crabs scurry to their holes.

Marsh: (noun) An area of soft, wet land, generally treeless and usually characterized by grasses and other low growth.

The marsh near the bay was home to many species of birds.

Sediment: (noun) Solid particles that began from the weathering of rocks and are usually transported, suspended in, or deposited by air, water or ice.

Beach sands are examples of sediment caused by weathered rock being transported by the moving water of oceans onto land.

Tide: The periodic rising and falling of sea waters that result from the gravitational attraction of the moon, the sun and other astronomical bodies acting upon the rotating earth.

The fisherman watched the tide tables so that he could determine the best time to dock his boat.