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Oceans and Seas

What is meant by freedom of the seas?


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International waters. The portions of the seas that are outside of a particular countries boundary limits. Prior to the 1970's, the US Boundary was normally 3 miles out to sea (measured from the coast line); up to those 3 miles was US Territory; past those 3 miles was INTERNATIONAL WATERS. International Waters meant that it was "Free" for all people and belonged to no country. The 3 miles was originally used because that was maximum effective range of shore batteries (the range that a cannon could shoot) at the time the law was made. After the 1970's, the US passed a new law making the boundary limit exceeding the three miles.