Think you know boats? Think again.

Posted by: Pen Marine

Here are some interesting and weird facts about them.

Sure, you may know that diesel motors have no sparkplugs, and the effect different hull materials have on the ride of the vessel, but do you know some of the items on this list? We sure didn’t prior to researching and writing this.

Boats are different from ships. Yes, this may seem like a basic concept, but the why is quite interesting. The first thing that comes to mind are their sizes, which is due to ships being large ocean-going vessels, while boats are smaller crafts for rivers and lakes. The more fascinating difference, however, is the way they heel or skid when turning.

Due to the difference in their centre of gravity, a ship will heel outward (or away from the turn) during a turn, while a boat will heel inward. For a clearer understanding, think of the way a car or a motorcycle rounds a corner. The car will lean away from the corner, while the bike will lean inward.

Duck boats. It is a boat, made from duck parts. No, we kid of course. A duck boat is the colloquial term for a DUKW, which is an amphibious vehicle invented during World War II, but is now used for tours in cities with large bodies of water. They have recently received a lot of negative press however, due to a number of fatal accidents.

Quarantine. The word comes from quarantena, which is Venetian for forty days. This was the number of days of isolation a ship had to wait before docking, due to The Plague. 14 days seems so minute in comparison, doesn’t it?

Go a head. Back in the golden, romantic days of oceanic adventures, the toilet on a ship is called the head, or heads. This is because a ship’s bow is also sometimes called head, and the toilet is located there because it can be washed out by regular wave action.

On a related note, the toilets of submarines are quite complicated as you’d expect, due to the pressure at which they have to function. During WWII, a crew member misused the toilet in the German submarine U-1206, causing seawater to flood the craft and the eventual loss of the submarine. What a waste, says we.

Boats don’t live forever. Watercrafts are more often than not in contact with water, so they will age and eventually die. Generally, ocean-going ships have a shorter life span due to the salt in the water, while passenger vessels last longer than their cargo-carrying counterparts. This is because cargo ships are often pushed hard – a quicker turnaround time equals more profit – while passenger vessels like cruise ships are piloted unexcitably for better comfort.

Size doesn’t matter? A yacht of 60 feet or so would be a good size for an average family’s weekend meandering, but something larger would be needed if they were planning to head out for a week or two to a neighbouring country. Or do they? The Santa Maria, the famous vessel on which Christopher Columbus reached America, was no longer than 70 feet, and it had a crew of 40 on board.

Fishing is more painful than you think, and the most common injuries are fishhook-related. Fingers could be sliced open by sharp hooks when rummaging through the box, and sometimes body parts are caught by casts that have gone wrong. As common is pulling a muscle while fighting a particularly stubborn fish, or slipping on a deck that invariably becomes wet during the course of the activity.

Factoids and jokes aside, the aquatic world is rich in history and its story is still being written today. If you’ve never experienced it, we recommend going out for a memorable charter first. We daresay you’ll be hooked, but this time for the better.