Dock, an artificial basin, divided from sea or river, especially if the waters be tidal or subject to fluctuation, by water-tight gates. The object of a wet dock is to secure a depth of water wherein ships may float alongside of a wharf or quay independently of tides, currents, and freshets; and these docks are designed to assist the prompt and safe completion, repair, loading and unloading of vessels. Dry docks are docks which, after ships have been admitted into them, can be emptied of water, leaving the vessels completely exposed for examination or repair. The mouth of such a dock is usually closed by a gate similar to a lock gate, or by a caisson. The London Docks were opened in 1805, the West India Docks in 1802, and the East
India Docks in 1806. These are mainly wet docks. The largest dry docks in England are in the royal dockyards.