Human beings have been travelling, living and working near water since time began, and this is because while it can be a treacherous and dangerous thing, the sea also provides a rich bounty in terms of food and resources. Not only can the sea sustain us, but it can also offer strategic protection from bad weather and hostile forces, which is why there are so many castles along the UK coastline and against rivers and lakes all over the country. 

Over the centuries, many different kinds of boats and water-faring vessels have been made. Often, the limiting factor in regards to the size and complexity of the vessels is the availability of natural resources. People used to have to make do with what they had in terms of building materials, and this means that for most of human history, boats were small and simple in their construction. 

There are some great examples of this in action, such as the dugout canoe. The dugout canoe, sometimes simply called a ‘dugout’, is an ancient type of canoe that is made from a large, hollowed out tree. The oldest examples of these canoes are about 8000 years old, though it is believed that they’ve been in use much longer than this. Another example of a simple boat is the traditional Welsh coracle. These are small, round boats generally used by one or two people and are made from woven willow rods.

Fishing boats

Fishing boats are made in almost any size you can imagine, from small recreational boats that a group of friends can take out for a weekend trip, to the largest trawlers and international boats. They can be designed for use on salt or freshwater depending on the type of fishing and the environment the fishing will take place in, but every fishing vessel of any size and specification needs to be durable, stable, and strong enough to withstand adverse weather conditions. Fishing boats designed for use on marine waters tend to be taller than their freshwater counterparts because they generally face risks like taller waves and higher winds. 

Naval boats

Boats used by the Navy vary a lot in their design and specifications, though they are primed for intensive use. The Navy doesn’t just have warships and cruisers that sound the bosuns call, there are also smaller boats that are used for everything from transporting people and equipment, to tugboats and small vessels with advanced imaging capabilities. Navy boats are often at ports such as Portsmouth, Clyde and Devonport, which are the three naval ports in the UK. 


Suitable for sailing or rowing, dinghies are smaller boats that are designed to be manned by one to five people depending on the size of the boat and the type of sail. These are mostly used for recreational purposes, though high performance sailing dinghies are used in races and other sporting pursuits. Most sailing and rowing dinghies are around 12’ long, though you can get bigger or smaller versions depending on how it will be used and how many people you will be having on board. Power options for dinghies include sails, oars, and outboard engines. 

Cuddy cabins

An all-rounder that tends to stay on the smaller side, cuddy cabin boats are a family friendly class of vessel that is commonly used for fishing, yachting and watersports. They have a largely open design, with a cabin over the bow which gives cover against weather and water conditions. The smallest tend to be around the 16’ mark, though they are often much bigger than this. 

Cabin cruisers

These small boats are fitted out inside in a similar way to a home, with a small sleeping area and facilities for simple food preparation, they often come with heating, air conditioning and a generator. They are designed for leisurely days on the water and so are popular with individuals and families who have some spare time and money to invest in their hobby. Cabin cruisers are a great base for longer sea fishing trips because of the ample storage space on board, as well as the modern comforts that make spending a day or two on the water an absolute joy.