Naval technology and warships have been a part of warfare for centuries, with some of the first instances of ships used for combat starting in ancient Mesopotamia. Although the early warships would not be recognisable as such when compared to modern ships, there were highly effective at the time and gave any empire an advantage over their enemy if they could not defend their territorial waters.

During the Ancient Greek and Roman empires, all warships were galleys, which were long, narrow vessels powered by rows of oarsmen. The ships were typically designed to ram into other vessels in order to attempt to sink them, although bow technology was deployed on a number of them. When catapult technology was developed during the 4th century B.C., it was soon adapted for use on boats, allowing for the targetting of both other vessels as well as land-based targets. This had the knock-on effect of reducing the viability of ramming, as any vessel coming in close would make for a far easier target for enemy catapult fire.

Naval warfare began to change again in Europe during the 14th century with cannons first being added to ship’s arsenals, although due to their difficult to reload, aim, and fire, they were not as popular on ships until later centuries. The addition of cannons on a ship greatly increased the weight of the ship, although this was not a problem in terms of the ships ability to stay afloat, it did make propulsion using oarsmen impossible, leading to warships making exclusing use of sails for propulsion.

The middle of the 17th century saw the design for warships begin to stabalise across Europe, with certain standard features being expected during construction. Warships began to store increasing numbers of cannons across a ship’s broadsides, necessitating the invention of different tactics that could accommodate the limitations of a ship’s cannons.

The 19th century again saw a revolution in the design of ships as steam power began to be implemented as a method of propulsion for vessels. At first, due to the cost and difficult in constructing steam ships, they were generally only used as reserve ships that were designed to give support to a main fleet, rather than lead the fleet. As production methods advanced this soon changed, and steam-powered ships were the most common warships for decades until the invention and implementation of the internal combustion engine on boats.


One of the oldest human activities that we are aware of is fishing, with specialised fishing vessels being used for almost all commercial fishing that currently takes place around the world. Although any boat can be used for fishing, catching greater amounts of fish typically requires larger boats that are suitable for carring heavy amounts of cargo. There are an estimated 4.6 million commercial fishing vessels around the world, with 75% of them estimated to be in Asia along. Although attempts have been made to calculate the number of non-commercial fishing vessels, due to the nature of smaller boats to be able to be used for numerous purposes, it has been impossible to even obtain a rough estimate of how many boats are used primarily for fishing in a non-commercial context.

Some of the earliest fishing vessels were little more than rafts or canoes, many of which would likely never have been designed for use in open ocean, but rather for lakes and rivers in-land, with many canoes having been designed for use in slim jungle rivers. These early boats were almost exclusively made from wood and covered in bark or animal hide to create a water-resistant coating for the craft. Some of the earliest archaeological boat finds have been dated back to the Neolithic preiod of around 7,000 – 9,000 years ago.

Boat technologies have typically evolved in tandem with one another, with the technology for fishing vessels being developed at roughly the same rate as technology for boats used in war or exploration all progressing at the same pace. It is unknown when the first sails began to be used in boat construction, but it likely pre-dates the invention of textiles, with some of the earliest boat sails being constructed entirely out of animal skin.

The Ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilisations to make use of the boats as a major part of their economy. Around 4,000 B.C. the Egyptians were building narrow boats there were designed to be rowed by several oarsmen. They continued to develop boat technology and made a number of advances to boat design that rapidly spread around both the Egyptian empire and the world at large. With the invention of cotton, the Egyptians were able to create sails that reduced the need for oarsmen in many circumstances, although many were still needed. These early sail-boats were large enough and sturdy enough to be able to cross oceans and were extensively used for trading purposes.

The vikings made a number of advances in boat construction and were one of the first peoples to began to make use of metal during boat construction, this allowed their boats to be far more durable and less prone to damage when striking ground.

USS Arizona

The USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship that was designed for use by the United States Navy during the early 1900s. The ship was named after the 48th state, Arizona, that had recently been admitted into the union. The ship was one of the two Pennsylvania class of battleships that were described as ‘super-deadnought’.

The ship was originally comissioned in 1916 but saw no action during World War I and remained in the United States. Between World War I and World War II, the ship was primarily used for transporting American officals around the world and for use in training exercises. The ship also saw use as an aid ship during the 1933 earthquake in Long Beach, California.

The ship’s fate was sealed during the attack on Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December 1941, when the ship was hit by a bomb that detonated in a powder magazine, causing the ship to violently explode. In total there was a loss of life totaling 1,177 officers and crewmen. The wreck of the ship still lise at the bottom of Pearl Harbour and has a memorial building built over the top side of the hull.

Santa Maria

The Santa Maria, full name: La Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepcion, which roughly translates into: The Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception, was the largest of all three ships that were used by Christopher Columbus when he took his first voyage across the Atlantic ocean in 1942, the master and owner of the ship was Juan de la Cosa.

Built in Pontevedra, Galicia, in the North-West of Spain, the ship is theorised to have been a medium-sized carrack, being approximately 18 meters long, with historian Juan Escalante de Mendoza stating in 1575 that the ship weight approximately 100 tons. The other ships that Columbus bought with on his expidetion were smaller caravel-type ships. The voyage was not particularly well funded and all of the ships were at least second-hand, with some speculation by historians that they may even have been third-hand. The ships were not designed properly for exploration and were designed as modestly sized merchant vessels. Unfortunately the exact dimensions of the ships have been lost to time, but some anecdotal accounts from the voyage do remain. Historians have put those accounts together with ship wrecks from the same time period in order to obtain rough dimensions for the ships.

The Santa Maria had three masts, making it the slowest of the three ships during Columbus’ expedition, but this helped it fare well on the Atlantic ocean. The initial crossing went well, but the return crossing was when disaster struck. Columbus had decided to sleep, as he had not done so in at least two days, leaving his steersman in charge of the ship. Given that the night’s weather happened to be particularly calm, the steersman decided to allow a cabin boy to steer the ship, a practice that Columbus would never have allowed had he been awake. The cabin boy’s lack of experience at the helm, the ship ultimately was carried onto a sandbank and ran aground on a site near Haiti. The ship proved to be unrepairable and sank the next day, with Columbus ordering the ship stripped of timber in order for a fort to be built. The exact wreckage for the ship has never been fround, although a number of dive teams have attempted to do so. The closest that any team has come so far was on the 13th of May in 2014, when underwater archaeological explorer Barry Clifford claimed that his team had found the original wreck of the Santa Maria. The claim was studied in great detail by UNCESCO, but in the following October, UNESCO published a report stating that the ship cannot have belonged to Columbus. This was due to fastenings that had been used in the hull of that particular ship which dated back to the 17th or 18th century.

Boats For Fun and Boat trips

What Are the Different Types of Boats?

A boat is smaller than a ship, and refers to a smaller watercraft which has been constructed to allow the crew to navigate in inland waterways and near-shore areas including lakes and rivers. Historical records show that boats have been used to transport passengers since the pre-historic period. From dugouts (the oldest recorded type of boat), over a long period of time, the watercraft’s evolution has brought us today’s indulgent motor yachts.

Different Types of Boats

Generally speaking, boats can be classed under three main sections:

  • 1. Motorboats (which are powered by engines).
  • 2. Man-powered/unpowered boats such as kayaks, gondolas and rafts, gondolas, kayaks
  • 3. Sailboats (which are propelled by sails).

Below are details on some of the most popular ones. Naturally, whatever type of boat you use, safety should be your number one priority. To that end, it is essential to always have your mobile phone with you with the https://www.livi.co.uk app on, as can link you up to medical help], and you can get advice immediately. Better safe than sorry, is always a good motto to abide by!

Dinghy Boats

These refer to small inflatable boats, which are normally fabricated with rubber, and comprise rowlocks and cross thwarts which serve as oars and and seats, respectively. Dinghies which are usually powered by small outboard engines, oars and sails, are generally referred to as row boats, sailboats, or just inflatables. Such row boats make excellent companion boats for people on camping expeditions, and for those who enjoy fishing in water that is on the shallow side.

Deck Boats

This popular boat design which is normally 25 to 35 ft in length, is used for water sports, swimming and other recreational activities. It boasts an open deck area which offers a small group of users a lot of seating arrangements. The vessel comprises a wide beam V- shaped hull, and this means that it can fit more passengers onboard than a pontoon. This model of boat also features a stern power drive.

Cuddy Cabins Boats

This family-friendly style of boat, which is generally fabricated from aluminium and fibreglass, is like other boats which are fantastic for water sports, sailing, yachting and fishing. It comprises a closed deck over its bow, which provides easy navigation for the crew, as well as convenient storage space. The cuddy length starts at approximately 4.75 meters.

Cabin Cruiser Boats

This style of boat which is perfect for relaxed sailing, offers every essential modern comfort feature that you would expect to find in your own home, so that is a major plus. They are built with a berth and galley, and come with power generators, air conditioners and heaters. Moreover, as well as the hugely practical deep-V bottom, they also feature rudder steering, and a secured shaft drive mechanism. To that end, they are ideal for sailing on salty water.

The Mayflower

The Mayflower was an English ship that has become a common part of modern day Americana folklore. The ship was transporting English Puritans, who are known in the modern day as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth, England, to the ‘New World’, with the ship departing in 1620. In total there were 102 pilgrims on board the ship, with an estimated 30 members of crew, although the exact number was either never recorded or the records have been lost. When the Pilgrims left England they signed the Mayflower Compact with the intention of establishing Plymouth Colony. The colony was designed as a rudimentary form of democracy and was an early precursor to socialism, with each member of the colony supposed to contribute towards the welfare of everyone in the community. There were other ships also named Mayflower that made the journey between London and Plymouth, Massachusetts several times.

The Mayflower was a square rig with a beakhead bow as well as castle-like structures situated on the fore and aft of the vessel in order to protect the ship’s crew and main deck from bad weather at sea. This design was common amongst English merchant vessels during the early 17th century. The design of the ship made it particularly bad at sailing against the wind and unable to sell well against the westerly winds that are prevalent in the North Atlantic. The entire voyage took a little over two months as a result of this. The return voyage was shortened to over half that time, with the strong winds acting in the ship’s favour.

The exact measurements of the ship are unknown as accurate records from that time have not managed to survive through to the modern day, but historians believe that the ship was approximately 30 metres in length and roughly 7.6 meters at the widest point. With the full load of passengers and cargo it is thought that the bottom of the keel would be just under 4 metres below the waterline. The Mayflower was also a heavily armed ship, as piracy was not uncommon at that time. The largest gun on The Mayflower was a minion cannon, weighing in at approximately 550 kg, which could shoot a 1.5 kg cannonball over a kilometer.


The history of ship transport dates back centuries and has changed numerous times throughout maritime history. Although ships have always had to carry some form of cargo on long voyages, they were generally not specialised for this and it was not until the 1950s that highly specialised cargo ships came into existance. The main change in the shipping industry came in the form of standardised shipping crates that ships became far more specialised at carrying cargo.

The transportation of bulk cargo has not changed too much, as it can often be counter-productive to store substances such as coal or gain in seperate containers rather than storing them unpackaged in the hull of a ship. But smaller commodities, such as cars or furniture, are nearly exclusively shipped in ISO containers. In 2001 it was estimated that more than 90% of global trade for non-bulk goods was carried out using ISO containers, although many of this takes place over land as well as over the sea.

Some of the earliest container ships were oil tankers that were refitted after no long being required for use at the end of World War II, given that there was a large supply of the ships at that time. During the 1950s ships started to be manufactured purpose-built for holding large numbers of shipping containers, Although the transition to exclusively using ISO containers was not a smooth one, as a number of dockyards and unions voiced their concerns that the containers would cause job losses that may lead to lawsuits.


Since the invention of maritime sports, boat racing remains one of the most popular. Both an olympic and independant sport, boat racing consists of either two or more boats racing against each other in a body of water. There are types of boat races that take place in both still water and out on the open ocean, although both necessitate the use of different vessels.

Boat races can broadly be split into two seperate categories: human-powered and engined. Human-powered boat races are typically rowing events, numerous of which take place over the world all-year round. One of the most notable rowing events is the Oxford University vs Cambridge University boat race, a race that stretches back for decades and is viewed by large audiences.

Olympic boat races feature both rowing and motor engine boats, although engine powered boat racing events take place on the ocean. The ocean events are not always straight-line races like rowing events, and may involve having to complete a set course within a specific period of time, with contestants starting the course one after another in order to compete to get the best time within the limitations of the course.

P&O Cruises

The company P&O Cruises offers a number of cruise lines and is known around the world. The company is often regarded the the oldest cruise company in the world, so long as you take into account that the company has changed it’s offical status and name a number of times through history. The modern-day company was originally a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation company, which was the first company to offer any form of passenger cruises commercially.

P&O Cruises, as well as its predecessors, have designed a number of cruise lines throughout history and have spawned a number of competing companies each attempting to offer better services and entertainment than each other. P&O are known for developing their own cruise ships that are purpose-built to attempt to accomodate the wishes of any passenger who may choose to go on a cruise. The facilities on board modern cruise ships would likely once have been thought impossible, but thanks to modern construction techniques and materials, certain technological challenges have been able to be overcome, such as having swimming pools on-board ships.

The development and expansion of cruise ships has also spawned an entire industry and helped a number of individuals find reliable employment, with a number of entertainers preferring to work solely on-board cruise ships in a similar fashion to the way a band might choose to go on a tour, with one of the major advantages being job security as well as a known end-date for their work. Although many who do work on cruise ships do choose to extend their contracts and may even sign-up for working on multiple cruises throughout the year.

American Cruise Lines

US company American Cruise Lines was founded in 1991 and is a smaller cruise company that operates six ships along both the Eastern Seaboard and Western Seaboard, stretching all the way up to Alaska. The company also operates slong the Mississippi-Ohio and Columbia-Snake river systems in the United States.

The company’s first ship was a 49-passenger craft that was called the American Eagle. The ship was first launched in 2000 and due to the ship’s success the company followed-up by ordering another ship of the same size in 2002 called American Glory.

The popularity and commerial success of the company’s first two ships allowed them to expand their operations and invest more money in an even larger ship, the American Spirit, which was able to hold two as many passengers as the first ships could. The company have cinued to expand their operations, even going so far as to purchase and renovate a Paddlewheeler which entered service in 2016. The company have been able to contribute to the local economies of the ports that they visit and almost every cruise that the company operates has been given great reviews by passengers.