English Channel(redirected from Channel Swimming)
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a strait between the northern coast of Western Europe and Britain. Together with Pas de Calais (Strait of Dover), it links the North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 520 km long, and its width gradually narrows from about 180 km in the west to 32 km in the east. Its depth in the fairway is 35 m, and its maximum depth is 172 m. There are many shoals, especially in the eastern part. Western winds result in a steady eastward current with a velocity of up to 3 km per hour (in narrow sections). Tides are semidiurnal, reaching 12.2 m in some places (Golfe de Saint-Malo). Fogs are frequent.
The channel is important for transportation. One of the major routes (in cargo turnover) from the countries of the North and Baltic seas to North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia passes through the channel. The main British ports are Portsmouth, Southampton, and Plymouth, and the chief French ports are Le Havre and Cherbourg. Fishing is well developed (plaice, mackerel, cod, halibut). Plans are under consideration for building a tunnel under the Pas de Calais.