Canals and navigations are human-made channels for water. In the vernacular both are referred to as 'canals'. The main difference between them is that a navigation parallels a river and shares its drainage basin, while a canal cuts across a drainage divide.
Types of artificial waterways
A navigation is a series of channels that run roughly parallel to the valley and stream bed of an unimproved river. A navigation always shares the drainage basin of the river. A vessel uses the calm parts of the river itself as well as improvements, traversing the same changes in height.
Most commercially important canals of the first half of the 19th-century were a little of each, using rivers in long stretches, and divide crossing canals in others. This is true for many canals still in use.
Structures used in artificial waterways
Both navigations and canals use engineered structures to improve navigation:
An island may be described as such despite the presence of an artificial land bridge, for example Singapore and its causeway, or the various Dutch delta islands, such as IJsselmonde. Some places may even retain "island" in their names for historical reasons after being connected to a larger landmass by a wide land bridge, such as Coney Island or Coronado Island. Conversely, when a piece of land is separated from the mainland by a man-made canal, for example the Peloponnese by the Corinth Canal, it is generally not considered an island.
There are two main types of islands: continental islands and oceanic islands. There are also artificial islands.
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