Difference Between Bay and Gulf

Bay vs Gulf

Water bodies on earth are found in many shapes and sizes and get named accordingly. Thus, we have oceans, seas, gulfs, bays, rivers, and so on. It is not always the size of the water body that decides its nomenclature. For a majority of the people, a gulf and bay are technically the same, and there is no difference between the two. Most of the time, a gulf is bigger in size than a bay (though the Bay of Bengal is bigger than the Gulf of Mexico). There are subtle differences between a gulf and a bay that will be discussed in this article.

Both the gulf as well bay are formed when the water from an ocean or a sea stops because of land. There is a small inlet passage before the water body becomes large, and then it gets surrounded by land on three sides, to be called a gulf or a bay depending upon the people who name it accordingly. Mostly these water bodies have been named as bays and gulfs depending upon the perception of the people viewing it. If they think it is too large, they tend to call it gulf and the smaller ones have been called bays.

The differences between a bay and a gulf pertain to the inlet or the passage of water from the larger water body, which is a sea or an ocean. In the case of a gulf, this inlet or opening is slimmer than is the case with the bays of the world. Gulfs of the world are mostly surrounded by large landmasses and these water bodies may take any shape, while bays are surrounded by smaller landmasses and the shape of these water bodies is mostly round or oval shaped.


What is the difference between Bay and Gulf?

• Gulf and bay are water bodies surrounded by land having similar appearance.

• Gulfs are normally larger sized and have a slimmer opening or inlet.

• Gulfs are surrounded by large land masses.

• Bay of Bengal defies this classification as it is very large (even larger than the biggest gulf, the Gulf of Mexico).

• A bay is not as enclosed by land masses as a gulf.

• Gulf is formed because of erosion of the rocks as water makes inroads into adjoining land.