Boats and Boating – A Bit of History!

From the first time that people used bamboo rafts and hollowed-out logs to travel across a lake or down a stream, boats have been a major part of life. Handcrafted wooden boats were used on local lakes and rivers for fishing and pleasure. The first boats made of synthetic material such as fibreglass, as well as the luxurious and very fast pleasure boats of today, give people a way to escape the everyday routine. This is one of the major uses for boats in the United Kingdom, and our modern world.But exactly what is a boat? Why is a boat such a popular, and necessary, part of our lives? Perhaps it would be best to look at just where the term “boat” comes from and what makes a boat a boat, instead of a canoe or a ship. Today, the word “boat” means a vessel constructed to transport people and items over water. This vessel must provide buoyancy by excluding water. The boat should be stable and easy to move across the water, propelled by any available method. best trolling battery center

By contrast, a ship is a large, ocean-going vessel, usually propelled by sails or an engine. But going back into history, the word comes from the German “bot,” which originally meant the goods or item delivered. Later this came to stand for the craft used to make the delivery. According to statistics, 85% of all powerboats in the UK are less than 26 ft. long. We will be focusing on this general type of boat, the small and mid-size craft that people use for pleasure and transportation. In doing this, information provided on financing, insurance, storage, general maintenance might be useful for all types of boats. Fishing boats and equipment cannot be adequately covered in the same text as pleasure boats, because the subject is so very large and complex. It is probably best to leave the fishing boat category for another time. We will take a brief look at yachts to provide some perspective on just how they differ from pleasure boats, ski boats and party boats such as the pontoon and deck boats that have become so popular. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as messing about in boats.

There are many, many different watercraft that go by the name “boat.” In fact, the list contains dozens of different names from around the world. But the focus here is on a few types that might fall under the general category of pleasure or recreation boats. This will allow the reader to learn about categories such as shopping for a boat, transporting and storing a boat, insurance and maintenance without being overwhelmed by the thousands of details that separate one type of boat from another. In addition, looking at pleasure/recreation craft such as ski boats, speed/performance boats and pontoon boats, we will be concentrating on a very popular type of craft that falls in the low to mid-range of prices.

First, a list of some of the different types and sizes of watercraft, many of which have very special or limited uses that distinguish them from the ski boats, speed/performance boats, pontoon boats and deck boats.

  • Dinghy Usually 10 feet long or less, light and portable. For use close to shore, in a small harbor area or on the lake.
  • Jon Boat or Johnboat A smaller boat used for many purposes, such as fishing, hunting. Most boats of this type are propelled by a small outboard motor.
  • Small Sailboats or Day Boats This is a recreation boat for use on small lakes or for sailing close to shore on the ocean. Normally, less than 20 feet in length.
  • Fishing Boats This category can include bass boats, smaller family fishing/pleasure boats, trawler-style boats, sport fishing boats, combination fish/ski boats etc. There are dozens of different designs and special uses for fishing boats.
  • Larger Sailboats and Catamarans This type of boat can be used for longer distances, for racing and for pleasure.
  • Houseboats Designed for living on the water. Quite different from even the most elaborate pontoon boat or deck boat.
  • Flatboats Generally used for sports such as fishing and hunting.

This is not meant to be a complete list of the types of boats other than ski boats and pontoon boats. But it sets the stage for a closer look at some very popular watercraft. Obviously, the luxurious world of yachting comes to mind…

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