Territorial waters

Schematic map of maritime zones (aerial view).

The term territorial waters is sometimes used informally to refer to any area of water over which a state has jurisdiction, including internal waters, the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and potentially the continental shelf. In a narrower sense, the term is used as a synonym for the territorial sea.


Normally, the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured is the low-water line along the coast as marked on large-scale charts officially recognized by the coastal state. This is either the low-water mark closest to the shore, or alternatively it may be an unlimited distance from permanently exposed land, provided that some portion of elevations exposed at low tide but covered at high tide (like mud flats) is within 3 nautical miles or 3.45 statute miles (5.5 km) permanently exposed land. Straight baselines can alternatively be defined connecting fringing islands along a coast, across the mouths of rivers, or with certain restrictions across the mouths of bays. In this case, a bay is defined as "a well-marked indentation whose penetration is in such proportion to the width of its mouth as to contain land-locked waters and constitute more than a mere curvature of the coast. An indentation shall not, however, be regarded as a bay unless its area is as large as, or larger than, that of the semi-circle whose diameter is a line drawn across the mouth of that indentation". The baseline across the bay must also be no more than 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi) in length.

Other Languages
العربية: مياه إقليمية
asturianu: Mar territorial
azərbaycanca: Məhəlli sular
Deutsch: Küstenmeer
español: Mar territorial
Esperanto: Teritoriaj akvoj
한국어: 영해
Bahasa Indonesia: Laut teritorial
íslenska: Landhelgi
Кыргызча: Аймактык деңиз
Bahasa Melayu: Perairan wilayah
日本語: 領海
português: Mar territorial
română: Ape teritoriale
Simple English: Territorial waters
slovenčina: Teritoriálne vody
Soomaaliga: Dhul-badeed
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Teritorijalne vode
suomi: Aluevesi
Türkçe: Karasuları
Tiếng Việt: Lãnh hải
中文: 领海