PATH: Home > Contents > About Boats >
^ Introduction, History, etc.
^ Forum Posts, Tech Tips & Tech Notes.
^ Publications & Media: Books, Magazines, Articles, Websites & Videos.
^ Related AEABoats Webpages (including Main Topic Page Links).
^ Disclaimer: Use our website at your own risk. Report errors, omissions, dead links, additions, etc.
^ Visit our FEATURED ARTICLES Home Page!
Dugouts are the oldest type of boats that archaeologists have found, and boats have served as transportation since the earliest times. Circumstantial evidence, such as the early settlement of Australia over 40,000 years ago, findings in Crete dated 130,000 years ago, and findings in Flores dated to 900,000 years ago, suggest that boats have been used since prehistoric times. The earliest boats are thought to have been logboats, and the oldest boats found by archaeological excavation date from around 7,000–10,000 years ago. The oldest recovered boat in the world is the Pesse canoe, a dugout made from the hollowed tree trunk of a Pinus sylvestris and constructed somewhere between 8200 and 7600 BC. This canoeis exhibited in the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands. Other very old dugout boats have also been recovered. A 7,000 year-old seagoing reed boat has been found in Kuwait. Boats were used between 4000 and 3000 BC in Sumer, ancient Egypt and in the Indian Ocean.
Boats played an important role in the commerce between the Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamia. Evidence of varying models of boats has also been discovered at various Indus Valley archaeological sites. The Uru was built in Beypore, a village in south Calicut, Kerala, in southwestern India. This mammoth wooden ship was constructed using teak, without any iron, and had a transport capacity of 400 tonnes. Such boats were used by the ancient Arabs and Greeks as trading vessels.
The History of Ships: Ancient Maritime World
In ancient marine times, people used rafts, logs of bamboo, bundles of reeds, air filled animal skins and asphalt covered baskets to traverse small water bodies. To be precise, the first boat was a simple frame of sticks lashed together and covered expertly with sewn hides. These boats could carry large and heavy loads easily. You get to know about examples of such ancient boats among the bull boats of North American plains, the kayaks of the Inuit’s and the coracks of British islanders. Yet another ancient boat was the dugout which is a log that is hollowed out and pointed at the ends. Some of these were even as long as sixty feet. Here is a brief attempt to traverse lightly over the history of ships and how they evolved to what they are now.
The Usage of Poles and Invention of Oar
Ancient marine history makes for quite an interesting study of the strength and survival instincts of humanity at large. For instance, in ancient times, the simple oar was not in use. Instead people used their hands to paddle along in their tiny boats. They moved rafts by pushing poles against the bottom of the rivers. Slowly, using creative instincts and ingenuity, man learnt to redesign the poles by flattening them and widening it at one end, and thus the paddle was designed to be used in deeper waters. Later on, it was again ingeniously transformed to become the oar-a-paddle that is fixed on the sides of boats.
Invention of Sails
The invention of the sail was the greatest turning point in maritime history. The sails replaced the action of human muscles and sail boats could embark on longer trips with heavier loads. Earlier vessels used square sails that were best suited for sailing down wind. Fore and aft sails were devised later.
Egyptians take the credit for developing advanced sailing cargo ships. These were made by lashing together and sewing small pieces of wood. These cargo ships were used to transport great columns of stone for monument building.
Phoenicians and their Contribution
History of ships is never complete without mentioning the Phoenicians. They deserve special mention since it is highly probable that they were the pioneers of the wooden sailing vessels that were to sail the high seas centuries later. The Phoenicians fashioned out galleys from the earlier dugouts with sails and oars providing power. As the galleys grew larger, according to specifications and requirements, rowers were arranged at two levels.
These were called the biremes by the Greeks and Romans. They also built triremes that are galleys with three banks of oars.
Types of Ships in Ancient Maritime History
As marine history and along with it, the history of ships unfolds; it draws images of intrigue and amazement at the expert and diligent craftsmanship of the ancient mariners. The medieval ships were clinker built, which refers to the clenching of nail -on technique used for securing planks. The clinker design was adapted from the earlier skin boats which had to be over lapped to make it water tight.
The Irish, in the medieval ages were in possession of more advanced vessels like the Irish curragh. These had wooden frames and a hide covered wicker hull; it is speculated that these ancient ships were fitted with removable masts rigged using primitive sails.
By 1000 AD, the famed Viking Long ship was permitted a travel into the Mediterranean. These ships were wider and had a more advanced mast stepping design.
By 800 AD an alternative form of the north European ship design, the hulk came into vogue. The Utrecht ship is an example of the hulk. Its planks are flush, butted end to end and tapered in order to draw up at the sides and at the bow and stern.
Improvements in Marine Vessels
Ships continued to develop as overseas trade became increasingly more important. By late 1100’s a straight stern post was added to ships to facilitate the hanging rudder. This aspect improved greatly the handling characteristics of a ship. The rudder permitted larger ships to be designed. It also allowed for ships with increasingly higher free boards to be built.
As years passed, in order to avoid risk of water damage, cargo was transported in large gallon barrels called tuns. The crew could now sleep on big leather bags on deck; the passenger space was termed “steerage” and this term is still in use today to refer to passenger accommodation of minimal facilities.
The British relied heavily on the nef, a term used for ships. At this point of time, ship design took a different turn – the first distinctive feature was the plank on frame construction. This allowed for much larger ships to be built. With more ships at sea, trade occurred from nearly all ports and there arose a need for a ship that could sail from anywhere to anywhere.
The carrack was designed and she was truly one of the tall ships. It has its origin in Genoa and sports the design of three Mediterranean vessels set to sail north through the Atlantic trade in the Bat of Biscay. The carrack was almost exclusively built of carvel, a type of construction that had its uses in both skin and frame built ships. In this design, the planks are fitted edge to edge rather than overlapping. In fact the carrack was the first to use the full skeletal design with planking framed on ribs the entire way to the keel.
More from MarineInsight.com.
List of maritime museums in the United States is a sortable list from Wikipedia of American museums which display objects related to ships and water travel.
Smith’s Master Index to Maritime Museum Websites lists the websites and gives a short description of maritime museums around the world.
Forum Posts, Tech Tips & Tech Notes
If you think we should add a Forum Post, Tech Tip or Tech Note to this webpage,
please submit the Link in the Comment Box below or via email to
the Editor@AbsolutelyEverythingAboutBoats.com. Thanks!
Publications & Media:
If you think we should add a Book, Magazine, Article, Website & Video to this webpage,
please submit the Link in the Comment Box below or via email to
the Editor@AbsolutelyEverythingAboutBoats.com. Thanks!
Publications, etc. with BOLD Titles are part of our Lending Library. To view the Publication, etc. as a PDF, click on the BOLD Title Link below.
If you would like to donate a Book, Magazine or Video to our Lending Library,
please email Donations@AnchorsAweighAcademy.org to arrange.
Related AEABoats Webpages
Main Topic Page Links
Visit our FEATURED ARTICLES Home Page
to see examples of our website's comprehensive contents!
Thanks to our amazing contributors for the steady flow of articles, and to our dedicated all-volunteer staff who sort, polish and format them, everyday we get a little bit closer to our goal of
Everything About Boats. If you would like to submit an article,
see Submitting Articles.
— TOP 20 MOST POPULAR ARTICLES —
Ford Industrial Power Products Diesel Engines
Lehman Mfg. Co.
Detroit Diesel 8.2
Universal Atomic 4
Chrysler & Force Outboards
ZF Friedrichshafen AG
American Marine Ltd (Grand Banks)
Types of Marine Surveys
Marine Surveyors by Regions
Boat Builders By MIC
DIY Boat Owner Magazine
USCG NVIC 07-95 Guidance on Inspection, Repair and Maintenance of Wooden Hulls
IF YOU ARE NOT YET AN ACADEMY MEMBER,
CLICK HERE to discover how you can become a Member and gain FULL access to
thousands of expanded pages and articles, and dozens of excellent programs
WITH JUST A SMALL DONATION!
Thank you for your support. You make this website possible.
Comments for Public Viewing
Anyone may submit comments for public viewing via email to:
(Put this webpage's title in the subject line)
FROM Donald: "This is an awesome website. I found the information that I needed right away from one of the over 10,000 free articles that you provide as a public service. I'm surprised that so much if this site is free. But I still signed up so I could access the thousands of expanded pages, interesting articles, and dozens of valuable programs! The member's library of books, magazines and videos that I can view online is really terrific! I understand that you and your staff are all unpaid volunteers. Please keep up the good work. And I commend you for your plans to add another 10,000 free informative articles over the next year. I'm thrilled to support you in this endeavor with my small membership donation. Thanks again for all your hard work."
FROM Huey: "I agree with my Uncle, I too have found the articles to be very enlightening. They say that it will take about 50,000 articles to cover the full scope that they have envisioned for the website. They have over 10,000 articles so far and that's doing pretty well, but it could take several years to get the rest. I also noticed that many of the Main Topic Pages and some of the article pages are still in the rough draft stage. I guess that they will fill in as they can get volunteers to work on them. But what I can't figure out is why anyone would spend the time writing informative in depth articles just to give away free to this website for publication? What's in it for them?"
FROM Dewey: "Well Huey, to me It looks like most of the articles on this website are written by very informed people, like boating instructors, boat designers, boat builders, riggers, electricians, fitters, marine repair technicians and marine surveyors. Writing such articles helps establish them as knowledgeable professionals. After all, this website was originally created by a school for marine technicians and marine surveyors. The website is growing in content every day. They even had to move to a bigger, more powerful server on October 15, 2018 because the website's traffic has been growing exponentially."
FROM Louie: "I agree with everyone above. This site is quickly becoming the ultimate reference resource about every aspect of boats and ships for everyone from the beginning recreational boater to the seasoned professional mariner. I use the topic pages on the right sidebar to browse around the website. It's like a Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook for Boaters. Their Members' Library of over 300 popular and obscure books and over 200 magazine back issues that can be viewed online is fabulous. The Academy's magazine is especially informative. On top of that, there is the "Ask-An-Expert program for members where you can get an expert's answer to any of your boat questions. And a whole years membership is only $25. What a deal! I really love being part of this "Everything About Boats" community and help provide thousands of helpful articles free to the public. I think that I'll sit down right now and write an article about my experiences boating with my uncle."
FROM Scrooge: "You rave about this website like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Well, I think it stinks. Sure, it has a lot of good information for boaters, and they're adding more every day, but it will probably never be finished. Furthermore, I don't even own a boat. And I wouldn't have a boat even if someone gave me one. Boats are a waste of money and time and energy and money! They're just a hole in the water you pour money into. If you gave me a boat, I'd sell it quicker then you could say Baggywrinkle. Then I'd lock up the cash with all my other money so I could keep my eye on it and count it every day. Bah humbug."
FROM Daisy: "I'm just so glad that Donald got the boat so we and the boys could enjoy boating — together. And of course all of the girls, April, May, and June, love to be on the water too, especially when that is where the boys are. Oh poor Scrooge, boating is more fun then you could possibly imagine."
FROM Editor: "For those of you that have stayed with us this far, Thanks. You inspire us to keep working on this labor of love. We know that we have a lot more to do. Ultimately, we hope that we can help you enjoy the wonder filled world of boating as much as we do. We are all waiting to see what you have to say about this webpage article. And we assure you, your corrections, updates, additions and suggestions are welcomed. Let's work together on this." ♥
ame: T ext.
Academy Members' Comments & Reviews
♥ Academy Members must be signed in to post and view ♥