Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Maritime Geography: Brown, Green, and Blue Water

Those who have interests in navies are familiar with the terms brown water, green water, and blue water navy. Each of these colored navies are capable of different levels of operations. However, many people do not know what the ability of each navy is or even what the different colors mean. Here is a simple guide

Brown water: Brown water refers to the highest point of high tide to the end of the littoral zone. Think coastal area. Many times the term brown water navy refers to military/police ships that patrol harbors and rivers.

Green water: Green water refers to the region between the coastal zone (brown water) into the ocean past continental shelf. Green water navies are regional powers who can extend their fleet a limited range. Think South Korea, India, and the United States Coast Guard.

Blue water: Blue water means the open ocean. Blue water navies are those who can travel the world while displaying overwhelming force. Prime examples are the United States Navy, the France, and the People's Republic of China (which will soon be a blue water fleet).


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Lexington Green said...

Does France really have a blue water navy? Does Britain? How about Japan?

Catholicgauze said...

Lexington Green,
I would say so. Their fleet frequently goes to Africa on missions, to the Pacific to their overseas departments, and will have a new base in the Middle East.
UK... maybe. In the Falklands War they stretched their green water fleet into a blue water. They improved it since but I don't know if I would call it a green water or blue water fleet.
Japan. I wouldn't say they have a blue water fleet yet. Plus, their self-defense force can scare no one but angry Taiwanese/South Korean fishermen.