I am looking for a single word that describes the place where a boat stops to allow passengers on and off.

For example, if it was a bus, the bus might arrive at a bus stop.

On the route, there are many stops.

Is the word the same for boats, or is there something more appropriate?

  • 2
    Pier, dock, quay, wharf?
    – Dan Bron
    May 28, 2015 at 13:10
  • 1
    The problem you'll face is that in most places boats are not used in the same way as buses, and so most single words will likely not be analogous (at least not fully). @DanBron mentions a few, to which I would add harbor and port, but none of these carries quite the same meaning as a bus stop. May 28, 2015 at 13:21
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    Our riverbus service on the Thames, London UK, refers to passengers alighting at piers, eg St Katherine's Pier. May 28, 2015 at 14:50
  • What kind of boat? Ferry? Water taxi? Cruise ship? What are the facilities at each point: pier? Quay? Terminal?
    – choster
    May 28, 2015 at 15:53
  • Your question asks for a word that means "the act of" and you have provided an example and accepted an answer that both mean "the place where this act occurs." Berth and dock each cover both meanings. Dock is the more common. May 29, 2015 at 1:36

8 Answers 8



If you're looking for a single word, "stop" may indeed be appropriate, although the association may not be as obvious as for "bus stop". Here are some examples that show it being used for a variety of vessel types:

Set sail for the unspoiled natural wonders of Alaska on cruises that include stops in Sitka, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, among other ports of call.


American Queen dropping Helena as riverboat stop beginning in 2015


Ferry Stop – North Landing Dock


The definition of the word supports it as well:

6 a : a halt in a journey : stay b : a stopping place


You could say "point of disembarkation" or,"port of call" or, "We pulled into port at..."

(These are used for ships w/ passengers - a freight liner or small craft usually "docks".)

  • Upvoted if the OP is willing to relax the single word restriction May 28, 2015 at 13:22
  • Unfortunately, that's not a possibility for my situation.
    – Wizard
    May 28, 2015 at 13:24
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    @Bara'thorn For all intents and purposes here, "port of call" is a single word that happens to have spaces in it. It's also unique to boats. (Though probably larger boats like cruise ships -- I would say "stop" for a ferry route.) What situation do you have that this doesn't work? May 28, 2015 at 21:52

If your boat is some kind of ferry with a circuitous route and multiple points of passenger transfer just like a bus, then each point could be safely referred to as a stop along its route for the same reasons the term works for buses.

More often, all of a boat's passengers are travelling between the same two points, all embarking at the origin and all disembarking at the destination. I'd call these points ports or docks, depending on their size (the latter being smaller and with fewer facilities on shore).

You might consider using the term ferry slip or just slip, but this is a fairly technical term more significant to the crew than the passengers.

  • 1
    The ferry company in my city refers to stops on the rare occasions when they are referring to stops in general. The rest of the time they just give the name of the stop.
    – Chris H
    May 28, 2015 at 14:26

dock, pier, wharf, wharfage....

a platform built out from the shore into the water and supported by piles; provides access to ships and boats.

  • A wharf is a platform built on the shore that extends over the surface of the water. On the wharf, you saw people preparing to set sail.




a town or city with a harbor where ships load or unload, especially one where customs officers are stationed.


At least in some parts of the United States, the word is landing. See Ngram.


A related word is "berth". Berth is basically a verb meaning to dock, and a generalized noun for anything a ship can pull into and tie off on. (quay, dock, pier, etc.).

This isn't a single word, but:

Another possibility is "port of call". If a ship has ports of call, it has scheduled, regular stops at these ports.


I was going to suggest wayside but have realised the word you may be looking for is Quay or quayside.


"a stone or metal platform lying alongside or projecting into water for loading and unloading ships. synonyms: dock, wharf, pier, harbour, berth, jetty, landing, landing stage, landing place, slipway, marina, waterfront, sea wall, embankment"

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