The Gulf Stream is the fastest ocean current in the world with peak velocities near 2m/s, a surprisingly high figure.

But I think that the speed is out in the open ocean, and it would be slower near shore. How fast is it, one kilometer from shore?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Which shore in particular are you interested in? To my knowledge (I am not an oceanographer) along the East Coast of the United States the Gulf Stream never gets to within one kilometer of the shore, even during seasonal intrusions onto the continental shelf. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @njuffa Any! If the answer is that it never gets within one kilometer of any shore, then that would be an answer. $\endgroup$
    – rwallace
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


Along the eastern US coast, the Gulf Stream travels over broad, and shallow, continental shelf. On the western edge of this shelf, friction slows the Gulf Stream as does seasonally driven local convection and surface gyres. In many places along the east coast, local currents may be reversed well beyond 1km from shore, depending on the season. Check out this Perpetual Ocean visualization from Godard Space Center.

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