The District Grand Port Maritime de Marseille extends over 70 km of coastline, ranging from east to west, from Old Port to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone.
It handles over 100 million tons of cargo (including 60% oil), making it the largest French port in the Mediterranean and the fourth largest port in Europe after Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg. The port handled 1.8 million passengers (2004), mainly to Corsica and North Africa, and for cruises in the Mediterranean. There were 360,000 cruise passengers in 2010
The main beaches are the beaches of Prado, Les Catalans, Red Point, the beach of the Prophet. The beaches of Prado were furnished by the period of digging underground in Marseilles. Like the J4 created by the embankments of the Rue de la Republique, the Prado beaches have been created artificially through the mounds of soil in Marseilles.
Other beaches in Marseille are: Washing beach, the Battery, the Fortin (Corbieres beaches in the Estaque district), beach Saint-Esteve (Islands of Friuli), David beach, the beach Huveaune, Borely beach, beach of Bonneveine, Old Chapel beach, beach Bains des Dames, the Anse beach of the Phoenicians, the beach of Anse Sablettes, Samena beach, and beach of Maronaise.
Beaches and coves are: Sormiou beach, Morgiou beach, and d’En Vau beach.
The Calanques of Marseille extend over twenty miles of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea between Goudes village, a city of the south-western district of Marseille, and Cassis. This is one of the most remarkable sites in France, and a major area of natural resources and sporting activities such as walking, climbing and diving. It sees one million visitors annually. The Calanques could benefit from the protection of a national park in 2011.
Marseille is a hotbed of diving, with nearly one hundred sites. The most famous are: the archipelago of Riou, archipelago of Friuli, and the Isle of Planier. Several dive shops offer dive trips. Commercial fishermen, who have long been part of the landscape of Estaque and Old Port in Marseille, have become scarce over the decades. Still, wolf, redfish, sea bream, mullet, and grouper are the delight of casual anglers.
The frigate Sartine, named after the Minister of the Royal Navy at the time, carried French soldiers under an agreement to exchange prisoners in India. Inadvertently damaged by a British ship, it ran aground in the entry on May 19, 1780, paralyzing traffic. With a slight deformation of the name – sardine – it became a classic joke as the sardine that blocked the port of Marseille!