A pier is a long structure that extends from a shoreline out over a body of water. Piers are human structures built for a variety of reasons.
Working piers tend to be larger structures that jut out into deeper waters in order to allow large ships to dock so that passengers and cargo can unload.
Pleasure piers are piers that are created for leisure purposes such as providing platforms for swimmers to enter the water from, fishing, or docking smaller watercraft like row boats and canoes.
World’s Longest Disembarkation Pier
The world’s longest pier extends 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) out into the ocean.
The pier is the Progreso Pier located in the Mexican state of Yucatán. The pier juts out into the Gulf of Mexico and is known as a disembarkation pier which is a pier built for ships to unload.
Built across a wide and shallow continental shelf, Progreso Pier was extended from 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in 1985 in order to accommodate larger ships docking at this location. Progreso has become a popular cruise ship stop and in 2014, more than one hundred cruise ships and over 344,000 passengers arrived at Progreso.
The older segment of the pier, which is closest to the shoreline, was built in 1942is built upon arches to allow sediment to pass underneath.
World’s Longest Pleasure Pier
The world’s longest pleasure pier is the Southend Pier in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
This pier extends into the Thames estuary with a length of 1.3 miles (2.1 km). Pleasure piers are piers built for foot traffic.
As the name suggests, these piers are used for promenading and sometimes include amusement rides. The pier first opened in 1830 with a length of 600 feet. In 1833 it was extended to 1,800 feet. Finally, in 1848 it was extended to 7,000 feet.
Visitors to this Grade II listed building can either walk the length of the pier or take the small railway. The pier was badly damaged by a fire in 2005 and reopened in December of 2007.
World’s Longest Wooden Pier
The longest wooden pier in the world is the Busselton Jetty which is about 2 km (1841 meters) in length. The pier is located in Busselton, Western Australia and was built to accommodate ship docking thanks to the shallow waters of Geographe Bay.
The pier’s construction started in 1853 and was extended numerous times until the 1960s.
The pier is no longer used for docking. Instead tourists can travel using the railway to an underwater observatory which opened in 2003.