Difference Between a River Boat & a Sea Boat

Written by jin machina | 13/05/2017
Difference Between a River Boat & a Sea Boat
Steam-powered boats originated on American and European rivers, then moved to the oceans. (river boat image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com)

Traditional river boats and sea boats were very much alike for a time. It was the success of the river boat and its steam-powered engine that led the way for modern sea ships.

Sailing Ships

Difference Between a River Boat & a Sea Boat
For centuries, you would have used a sailing ship to transport goods. (The sail ship image by yaros from Fotolia.com)

For a long time, maritime vessels were built with networks of spars, ropes and sails to carry cargo. Winds carried them toward their destination, while meticulous calculations navigated their journeys. Toward the end of the 19th century, steam engines virtually conquered sea ships. By World War II, sailing ships were commercially extinct.

River Boats

Difference Between a River Boat & a Sea Boat
Steam engines and paddle wheels had their start and made their fame on rivers. (paddle wheel image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com)

River waters, in contrast to the oceans and seas, are relatively safe. Not many sails were placed on river boats because inland winds are broken by land features, which weren't good for sail-use, but tolerable for paddling with oars. This is why during the rise of the steam engine, river boats utilised the paddle wheel for executing propulsion.


Difference Between a River Boat & a Sea Boat
Dreadnought-like battleships used steam during their times of war. (aurora cruiser image by cegli from Fotolia.com)

For a while into the 1830s, riverboats and some sea ships were very much alike-- powered by steam engines and paddle wheels. But because of giant waves, using paddle wheels became inefficient for seafaring.The year 1836 ushered in the screw propulsion-design (propellers) for use to thrust sea ships. Once again, the two boat types became distinguishable.

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