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How Many of These Fascinating Ships Have You Heard Of?

 Summer has ended but the weather remains cheerfully pleasant and peaceful - though the situation remains uncertain and turbulent. In keeping with the need for social isolation, there may be no better way to stay isolated than with a quick jaunt across the nearest body of water.

In fact, for the soul-sailors of the world who pine to make their way to the ocean, there is a myriad of fantastical and fascinating watercraft that will take you on the most epic sea voyage. Here are a few unique and oddly-named boats, ferries, dinghies water vehicles that you probably never heard of but will definitely be amazed by!

1. Zille

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Zille

(Wikimedia Commons)  

A Zille is a flat bottomed boat used most commonly to navigate down the Danube River, which runs through much of Europe. In the 19th century, zillen (plural) were up to 100 feet long. Nowadays, they are usually built between 25-30 feet long.  

2. Shikara 

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Shikara

(By Laportechicago, Wikimedia Commons)  

The shikara, also known as the shikar, is a wooden boat mostly found in northern India. They are of varied sizes usually, depending on their function which can range from anything between fishing and harvesting to serving as living quarters. 

3. Pirogue

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Pirogue

(By WRI Staff, Wikimedia Commons)  

Not to be confused with the European dumpling-like dish, the Pierogi, Pirogues are a class of small boats, like canoes and dugouts that were used in Spanish and French colonies. They have been used since the 7th century for everything from military operations to piracy. 

4. Xebec 

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Xebec

(By Nicolas Cammillieri, Wikimedia Commons)  

You’ve probably seen something very close to this ship in pirate movies and old illustrations. From the 16th to the 19th century, most fast sailing ships in the Mediterranean Sea went by this name, or its alternate, Zebec. It has an overhanging bowsprit and multiple masts, though they have been continually developed and reshaped over the years.  

5. Sampan 

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Sampan

(By Adolfo Farsari, Wikimedia Commons)  

Speaking of wooden boats, there are few more trusty for fishing than the sampan. With a semi-flat bottom and a small covered space onboard, these have been used as a long-term shelter for traditional Malay and Chinese fishermen that need to stay close to inland waters. These small boats do not have the constitution to handle rough waters or excessive time away from land. 

6. Tjotter 

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Tjotter

(By Jane023, Wikimedia Commons)  

Tjotters are a small sailing ship that originated in Friesland, that have a wide helm and usually a statue at the head of the rudder. They were used primarily for the transport and sale of small scale goods. Larger Tjotters are called fjouwer-yacht and are still used today. 

7. Proa

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Proa

(By Göran Höglund, Wikimedia Commons)  

Proas are outrigger boats fitted with multiple hulls originally used by the Austronesian people in the Colonial Era. They are still used in and considered as the native ship for Oceania as well as numerous southeast Asian nations like the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. 

8. Dhoni 

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Dhoni

(By © Nevit Dilmen, Wikimedia Commons)  

Dhonis are the traditional sailing vessels of the Maldives, as well as for Sri Lanka and South India. They have numerous different purposes, which include cargo transport, trading, and fishing. They are among the oldest known sailing ships of the Maldives. Originally made out of wood, contemporary versions are crafted using fiberglass. 

9. Felucca 

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Felucca

(By Jerome Bon, Wikimedia Commons)  

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of walking alongside the banks of the River Nile will have seen this beauty. It is a traditional wooden sailing boat commonly seen on the coasts of Egypt, Tunisia, Malta, and Sudan. They board up to 10 people and are extremely popular for tourists looking for a peaceful sailing experience. 

10. Umiaks 

Lesser known types of boats with unusual names, Umiaks

(By Gchacon, Wikimedia Commons)  

The canoe-like vehicle goes by numerous variations of its traditional name, like oomiac or anyak, and is used by the Inuit people as well as their relatives, the Yupik. They provide a means for much-needed transport, as well as a solid vehicle for hunting whale and walruses during hunting season. In the 20th century, this traditional vessel was remodeled to fit an outboard motor for further convenience. 

Be sure to share this with all your seafaring friends!

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