Learn About Boats

Boats help passengers travel over large stretches of deep and shallow water. Sailors take boats over many types of inland bodies of water like rivers and lakes. Some sailors take boats far out into protected areas of water. The term boat and ship are often used as the same thing, but to sailors, they are very different. Boats are small, and ships are large. In most cases, a boat is a watercraft small enough to board another vessel like a ship. Larger boats are actually ships like cargo ships, cruise ships, and ferries.

Different kinds of boats have moved people and their cargo across large bodies of water for hundreds of years. Boats pretty much let people travel over water without having to swim! Boats also have a history of use for fishing in many cultures. Businesses, governments, and many of the world’s military branches use boats for protecting their country, and for travel and transport. Larger ships have smaller lifeboats for emergency evacuation for crew members. Small boats are also used to shuttle passengers and cargo from larger boats to shore and back.

History of the Boat

Throughout the history of the world, people have used boats for many purposes. Early boats were commonly made of natural materials, usually wood. Even though many boats had steel and iron frames, they were still planked with wood.

In 1855, the French created what’s called Ferro-cement (Ferrocement) boat construction. To build a boat this way, builders used a steel or iron wire framework that they formed in the shape of a boat hull. The hull is then covered with cement and made stronger with bulkheads and other internal parts. Ferrocement boats are strong, heavy, and resistant to leaks and corrosion. Ferro-cement boat construction was copied by many boat builders around the world for many years. Some boat builders even use it to build boats today!

Wooden boats were popular in older times. So many boats were being made that the forests in Britain and Europe were disappearing. That made others begin to search for better ways to build boats. The Bessemer Process arrived in 1855. The process helps lower the cost of steel. As a result, both steel ships and steel boats became more common in the following years. By the 1930s, boats made from steel became more popular around the world. They eventually replaced wooden boats in many commercial and private industries.

How Boats Work

Have you ever wondered how boats float on water? A boat can float on water because the weight of a boat is equal to the water it sits on. Even though boats are made from heavier layers of material, that material only forms the outer layer. Inside, boats hold a lot of air, which adds to the total weight of the boat.

As a result, the total density of the boat is usually equal to the density of the water where it sits. When that happens, the boat will float right on the water! If there is extra weight in the boat, like passengers or cargo, the boat may sink a little to balance out the extra weight.


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