Oil Tankers: Fueling Countries for Centuries

The oil tanker is so much more than just a giant floating barrel of oil. The uses for tankers old and new are innovative and will absolutely amaze you!

The History Behind Oil Tankers

Eniday identifies that ships have been used since at least the 16th century to transport all manner of goods. Tales of pirates attacking ships and stealing either the ship, its cargo or both are very familiar to everyone.

Since then, we have built bigger, sturdier and better ships with different purposes and designs to more efficiently move cargo.

The first oil tanker as we know it was constructed in the United Kingdom in 1886. This ship allowed for oil to be pumped into the hull without the need for barrels. During the World War I era, the United States built 316 oil tankers to keep up with the demand for oil. World War II saw similar increases in demand.

The Exxon Valdez Spill

Perhaps the most famous incident in history involving an oil tanker was in 1989 when the tanker named the Exxon Valdez crashed into the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound in Alaska. The Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into the water which resulted in the killing of hundreds of thousands of animals in the area.

The disaster gained international attention and ultimately cost the Exxon corporation 3.8 billion dollars for both clean-up and restoration costs for the habitat. Captain Joseph Hazelwood avoided felony charges in the matter but received a community service work requirement and a $50,000 fine. 

Massive Modern Tankers

The bigger the tanker, the more oil it can carry. The more oil it can carry, the lower the cost of shipment. This is highly important to keep the cost of fuel down for consumers. This major demand has sparked some huge innovation in the design and construction of oil tankers. Eniday says that today’s ultra-large crude carriers (ULCCs) can be 1,300 feet long! Imagine laying the Empire State Building down on the ground, and that would be roughly the length of these tankers. According to Clearseas.org, 60% of all oil transported around the world travels by oil tankers. 


Something as massive as an oil tanker has to have some cool features. Just as cool is what has been done with some of the old tankers that are no longer in use. In Antigua, this YouTube video shows how a decommissioned oil tanker has been turned into a floating water park.

Other ideas, like The Black Gold Project in the Persian Gulf countries, seek to use these decommissioned tankers for land use. They could be hotels, shopping centers, airports, apartments and more. The intrigue that comes from repurposing these ships for this purpose seems to be enough to “fuel” a whole new pseudo-real estate empire.  

Environmentally-Friendly Oil Tankers

You read that right—oil tankers are becoming far more environmentally responsible! While it would seem that a vehicle carrying fossil fuel would be one of the least eco-conscious vehicles on the planet, that is becoming very inaccurate. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered tankers are being commissioned for their ability to nearly eliminate the release of sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide, as well as reducing the release of carbon dioxide by approximately 40%.

But more than just the use of LNG vessels, tankers like Deliverance have been designed to use solar and wind power to handle half of the ships power needs. The other half would come from liquefied natural gas. All of this actually costs less to manufacture and saves oil companies a tremendous amount of money. Beyond the cost savings, the environmental impact will be substantial—in a great way! 

Bigger and Bolder: The Evolution of the Superyacht

Most people will never see a superyacht in their lifetime, let alone set foot on one of these streamlined, gleaming luxury vessels.

But for the crème of the top one percent wealth bracket, a superyacht has become a must-have status possession and the perfect way to party and travel in style.

Luxury yachts have sailed the seas since the first half of the 20th century. Since then, their designs have got bigger, better, extravagant, and adventurous. This article traces the history of these opulent vessels and the emerging trends and technologies in their build and design.

What is a Superyacht?

A superyacht is a large, professionally crewed luxury yacht (motor or sail powered) with a load line length of at least 24 meters. Superyachts are available for commercial charter or are used exclusively by their owners. They may be designed to emphasize speed, comfort, or expedition capability.

The number of superyachts has grown significantly since the 1990s such that, today, only those vessels exceeding 65 meters (213 feet) stand out as impressive.

Since a significant number of yachts are over 3000GT, all their deck and engineering officers require full merchant navy certification.

Brief History of the Superyacht

The yacht was first invented in the 14th century by the Dutch. At the time, they used small, fast boats (called jaghts) to chase pirates, criminals, and smugglers at sea. Eventually, rich ship merchants and owners started using these jaghts to sail out to sea to welcome or celebrate their returning ships.

The world’s first yachtsman was Charles II of England who picked up the sailing hobby while in exile in Holland. After a ten year exile, Charles II triumphantly returned to the English throne aboard a luxurious 60 ft. yacht presented to him by the city of Amsterdam. He soon took up sailing on the Thames and built about 20 yachts in his lifetime.

Years later in 1720, the Cork Water Club was opened becoming the world’s first yacht club.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 20th century; wealthy individuals started constructing large, private yachts, which became the precursors of today’s superyachts. The first large motor yachts also appeared during this period, including superyachts like Jemima F. III (1908), Savarona (1931), and Christina O (1947).

Superyacht Design and Layout

A modest superyacht between 40 and 60 meters may have cabins for up to 15 guests and a crew of similar size. It may be configured as follows:

  • A lower deck with an exterior swimming pool at the stern, four to six guest cabins, crew quarters forward, and an engine room amidships.
  • A main deck with a saloon, dining room, galley, entrance amidships, and the owner’s suite and study forward.
  • An upper deck with an exterior deck aft used for outdoor dining, a sky lounge, the captain’s cabin, and the bridge.
  • A sun deck with a Jacuzzi and a gym (if it’s not below-decks).

Emerging trends and Technology

The most obvious direction for next-generation superyachts is an increase in size.

The size and designs of the superyacht are directly linked to the increase of billionaires.

Owner-preference and competition continue to drive new design and features such as icy spa chambers, personal gyms, helicopter pads (the new normal), stabilized pool tables, aquariums, wine cellars, movie theaters equipped with high-spec IMAX projection.

Other design trends are:

  • Noise reduction.
  • Exterior and interior designs that allow guests to get closer to the water with features such as beach clubs and sea-level pools.
  • Low-emission and eco-friendly sailing.

The superyacht has a variety of uses depending on the owner’s preference ranging from business matters to parties and sporting activities. However, the main use of the superyacht is going on private vacations to relax.

Narrowboats: The History of These Floating Homes

If you live in or have visited England, it’s very possible that you’ve heard people talk about the many beautiful canals that flow across the country.

One of the most common boats on these English waterways is the narrowboat, which today is frequently used as a floating home—but it hasn’t always been this way.

History of the Narrowboat

Historically, narrowboats were referred to as narrow boats, with a space. This terminological difference marks the split between the modern leisure narrowboat and the traditional working narrow boat.

Narrow boats were first designed in the 1700s as a way to transport goods across Britain’s extensive canal system, making use of the rivers just as we make use of highways today. Their name comes from their distinctive size and shape—never any wider than 7 feet, and generally about 70 feet long. They were most likely designed by an engineer named James Brindley specifically so that they could more easily navigate the narrow canals.

Boats With No Engine

Before they had even invented an engine for them, narrowboats were being used by hundreds of companies across the country. In these early days, the boats would have been pulled by a horse walking along the edge of the canal.

Steam Engines

In the late 1800s, narrowboats began to make use of steam engines. This enabled them to make longer cross-country journeys. During this time, narrow boats began to struggle to keep up with the convenience of the railroads.

Modern Engines

Starting in the early 1900s, narrowboats used more modern gas and diesel engines. This meant less room on the boat was taken up by the large steam engines, and fewer crew members were needed to keep the boat running.

The Fall of Working Boats

By the 1960s, the use of narrowboats to transport goods was in sharp decline. The waterways had fallen into disrepair after World War II, and modern methods of transport meant that narrow boats were simply not needed the way they had been for almost 200 years.

The Modern Narrowboat: A Floating Home

Today, narrowboats are rising once again in popularity, but for a different reason: people like to use these boats for leisure, sailing along the peaceful canals and often living on board.

Even back in their working days, there was a precedent set for living aboard these vessels. The families of boatmen frequently lived on board and traveled alongside the boatmen, as this was cheaper than keeping a separate house on land.

Today, living on board a narrowboat offers a number of pros and cons. It can be quiet, since you will be moored in dedicated marinas and will be away from the noise of the city. It can also be much cheaper than more traditional living arrangements such as houses and apartments, and allows you to easily travel without ever leaving home. If you’re curious as to what this living situation might look like, take a look at this couple’s video tour of their own narrowboat.

However, life on a narrowboat can be difficult. You need to deal with severe cold, constantly ensuring that your stove is lit so that your boat remains heated. Plumbing can be an issue, and the boat frequently has to be moved unless you’re paying a residential marina. You also have to be a handy person, able to identify and fix problems and maintain the boat in case of any damage.

But if you’re the sort of person who loves to travel, doesn’t want to stay anchored in one place, and is willing to take on an adventure, life on a narrowboat might be the perfect choice for you.

Set Sail on a Sloop

If you’ve always had a sense of adventure, you may have dreamed of hopping into a sailboat and floating off into the unknown.

Sloops, one of the smallest and most popular types of boats throughout history, are a common form of summer recreation for many people who live near lakes, rivers, and oceans. 


Early sloops have been around since at least the early 17th century. However, they did not reach the peak of their popularity until approximately a century ago. Sloops were named after the Dutch term sloep, which means “to glide.” While they are typically used for passengers today, they were once a popular means of transporting goods shorter distances than the routes commonly used by larger cargo ships.   


Sloops are similar to many other types of small sailboats, but they are set apart from other boats by the distinct setup of their sails. Sloops have only one mast, while larger boats can have several more. This mast holds one mainsail and one headsail for the simplest and most common sloops, though more may be used. Some sloops may also use topsails. 

Many sloops are characterized by their size, and they are often no larger than small yachts. Because they have only one mast and a limited number of sails, most sloops are no larger than 45 feet long in order to keep them from becoming difficult to control. 


While today’s sloops are mainly used for recreational purposes, often in lakes, they were also instrumental in transporting people and goods along rivers throughout history. Prior to the invention of the steamboat, a type of self-powered boat that does not rely on sails, sloops were one of the most common types of boats used in rivers. Some major rivers, such as the Hudson River and the Mississippi River, were once major travel and trade routes within the country, and sloops and other riverboats played vital roles in expanding the early United States.  


Sloops are just one of a variety of possible small sailboats for sailors to choose from. One distinct advantage to sailing sloops is the ease with which they are controlled under ideal sailing conditions, which makes them a fine choice for both experienced and novice sailors. Recreational sailboats are much smaller than other types of ships, such as the massive cargo ships that are used for transporting goods across oceans, which means that they have far fewer crew members to handle them. 

Sailing sloops also offers a distinct economic advantage over larger boats. Using one mast and a smaller number of sails and wires means that it is often cheaper to build and purchase sloops than larger boats. Because many sloops are used for recreational purposes, sailors often prefer to purchase less expensive, smaller sailboats over larger boats with more complex masts and sails. 


Like many forms of transportation, sloops have their place in pop culture. One of the best-known references to this type of sailboat is The Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B.” The Beach Boys’ version of the song, which is based on a much older folk song from Nassau, was featured in the movie Forrest Gump, and it is considered to be one of the top 500 songs of all time

Sailors of all ages and levels of experience often choose the sloop over other small boats because it is often considered to be one of the easiest boats to manage. Its popularity over the last century has given it an irreplaceable place in nautical history, pop culture, and the hearts of sailors around the world.  

The Scow: A Jack-of-all-Water-Trades

Though the term “scow” has come to refer to large, clumsy boats that lack maneuverability — and its reputation likely hasn’t been helped by the word’s resemblance to the bovine animal — the colloquialism doesn’t do justice to this versatile watercraft or its rich and varied history.


Seen primarily in the Great Lakes region of the United States, southern England, and New Zealand, the scow has taken many forms in its couple centuries of history.

What all the variations of the boat have in common is their unique shape, consisting of a flat bottom and rectangular, sloping hull. Aside from that architectural aspect, however, scows can vary tremendously in size and whether they have sails or are designed to be rowed, punted, or pulled.


In the industrial belt of the eastern U.S., the term scow is used to designate a barge that, historically, carried bulk material such as ore to manufacturing facilities along the region’s rivers. Unlike deep-keeled vessels that require deep water and a proper harbor or docking facilities, the flat-bottomed scow has no trouble navigating in the shallow waters of rivers and bays, and can even be beached without issue for loading and unloading. The squared bow also allows for more efficient use of space for packing cargo.

One particular sort of cargo scow has even gone intergalactic: Trekkies might recognize the term “garbage scow” as a starship freighter full of toxic cargo. This ship has its roots firmly on earth, though, as scows have long been used for transporting refuse and waste in coastal areas, even giving rise to controversy over cities using the boats to illegally dump garbage into the sea.


Even before the age of the internet, good inventions traveled quickly around the world. In 1873, a mariner who had spent time in the American Great Lakes had the first scow built in New Zealand, based on the design he’d seen in the States. In honor of its birthplace, this first ship was named Lake Erie.

The scow’s flat design was integral in being able to navigate along the country’s narrow and shallow creeks. Whether carting stone, metal, or even livestock, it was common for the sailors to depend on the tides to help take the boats on and off the beach, taking advantage of low tide for loading and unloading.  


The trustworthy scow got a makeover at the end of the 19th century when a Norwegian boat builder, living in Minnesota, entered a new ship design in one of the local yacht club’s races. John O. Johnson’s 38 foot-long, dish-shaped sailboat looked nothing like the competition but won handily. After this success, he continued to improve upon his design, with his second boat — known as the Minnezitka — becoming the predecessor of the current Class A Scow, and Johnson Boat Works became known as the birthplace of the racing scow.

Racing scows today come in a host of classes depending on their size and design, with different regions and associations recognizing different ones. These classes range from the A Scow, which is the largest and takes a crew of six or seven members, to the butterfly scow, or butterfly dinghy, which is only 12 feet long and is generally sailed by a single person.

For more than a century, the scow has been an indispensable vessel on both sides of the world. Its success in racing has shown that its boxy lines are not to be underestimated, and yet it has remained humble, continuing to do its noble work of transportation up and down waterways where larger, sleeker watercraft cannot go. With assets like these, we can expect to see the scow on the seas — and lakes, rivers, and creeks — for years to come.

Launch: 10 Common Variables

Ready for a fun day at the lake? When you’re looking forward to having fun in the sun, get started on the right foot with a successful launch.

Many elements combine at once that can either make or break your day, not to mention your boat. Knowing what to expect can alleviate your stress.

Rules can be slightly different depending on the location of the dock, so it’s wise to do some research ahead of time. Taking the time to practice a few basic skills (e.g. reversing with a trailer attached to your vehicle) can pay off in time saved when launching your boat. 


  • Wind
  • Boat Trailer
  • Shore
  • Dock
  • Water conditions
  • Experience of the towing vehicle’s driver.
  • Sobriety
  • Balance
  • Position of towing vehicle on the boat ramp.
  • Size of the watercraft.

Wind is an environmental condition that can adversely affect watercraft. Although wind travels at the same speed over land as it does over water, watercraft do not have the advantage of traction. On an extremely windy day, boats are advised not to launch. The smaller the boat, the less stable it will be in windy conditions. When you are setting a boat in motion, or rolling it into the water, it is wise to know the conditions you will face in advance.

Boat trailers are amazing inventions. If you live far away from a water source but love boating, a boat trailer is an excellent investment. Not only will it save you money spent on marina fees, but it will also give you the freedom to vacation with your boat anywhere you want. Keeping your boat in a marina restricts it to one locale. When launching a boat from a trailer, there are a few things to consider. 

  1. Driving in reverse with a trailer is a learned skill.
  2. Mark the trailer when proper launching depth is achieved.
  3. Do not let the bystanders watching you stress you out!

A good rule to remember with a trailer attached to your vehicle is that the back of the trailer will go in the same direction that you are turning the steering wheel. It is the opposite when reversing with the vehicle alone. It is good to practice reversing with a trailer before you are at the boat launching site. When you are comfortable in your neighborhood parking lot, you’re good to go. Also, when launching the boat, it is very helpful to bring someone along to help you. Failing to submerge the trailer to the proper depth while launching is one of the fastest ways to make your attempt unsuccessful. The boat will be difficult to launch if the trailer is too shallow, or too deep. Finding the proper launch depth takes a bit of practice. It doesn’t help that all boat ramps are unique. You may be used to successfully launching at your favorite vacationing spot only to travel to an unfamiliar location and experience a botched launch or retrieval because of a different ramp grade. A good rule of thumb when launching your boat is to back down the ramp far enough to float the stern with the bow still resting on the trailer. Mark the trailer with waterproof tape, or a simple piece of bright twine once the proper launch depth has been achieved. You can refer back to this marker when retrieving the boat, since the depth that facilitates boat removal is the same for retrieval. This simple step will save you a lot of time at the end of the day.


Non-motorized watercraft are generally cheaper to launch than motorized boats. Some states have replaced launch fees and now require boaters to purchase permits for their boats instead. Researching the requirements of your boating site before you arrive will ensure that your boating adventure doesn’t hit any snags. The ten common variables listed at the top of this article apply not only to motorized craft but to non-motorized boats as well. Non-motorized boats will be more susceptible to many of these launching variables because they have no motor to rely on. The sailor will be unassisted by an engine if he or she encounters adverse conditions. When launching, balance is key to a great start. Knowing your own strengths and being comfortable manning your chosen craft are important too. Boating is a lot of fun with smaller, non-motorized craft because they can often put into and launch out of destinations that are inaccessible to larger boats. Whether you’re out to explore, exercise, or have fun in the sun, being able to navigate these potential launch variables will ensure a great trip!

The Cabin Cruiser is the Perfect Boat for Vacations on the Water

The cabin cruiser is usually 25 feet to 44 feet in length, with a head (latrine), small galley and sleeping quarters.

It’s the ideal family boat for fishing, cruising and relaxing on coastal waters, a river or lake. The cabin cruiser, as its name suggests, has a cabin below deck to allow passengers the ability to stay at sea for prolonged periods.

The cruiser may also have a steering station with instruments in the cabin and on deck.

Smaller cabin cruisers can be towed or may remain at a marina. Many people take their cabin cruisers on the water during the spring and later on, in the late fall. The boat can be stored in a garage or storage facility when it isn’t in use.

Cabin cruisers have outboard or inboard engines, depending on their size and design. The engines can be powered by either diesel or gasoline. Larger cabin cruisers may have at least two inboard or outboard engines. Meanwhile, express or fast-cruising vessels must often utilize more than two outboard engines for power.

The vessel’s draft, the area below the waterline, can be anywhere from two to four feet in length. This component of the vessel allows it to cruise most inland waterways. Meanwhile, the cabin cruiser that doesn’t have a high flybridge can travel under bridges on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).

Cabin Layout

There are as many layouts for cabin cruisers as there are boat manufacturers! The layout will also depend on the size of the vessel. The larger cabin cruisers will have a galley with a full-sized propane stove, refrigerator and bathroom (with a shower and even a bathtub). Some have air conditioning and heating in the cabin area. Many people say that the cabin cruiser is comparable to a motorhome on the water.

The V-berth is the most forward part of the cabin and will usually sleep one or two people. It can also be used for storage. The center part of the boat, the main salon, generally has a table and settee. The table can be folded down to create a platform for a bed. You can lay out plush cushions on the table to act as a bed for one or two passengers. Larger cabin cruisers in the 38+ feet range often have a main salon that’s separate from the dining area.

Most cruisers have a toilet with a holding tank and at least one sink connected to a water tank. There may also be a water heater on board. The galley usually has a stove on gimbals so that the stove remains stationary while the boat is moving.

The cabin interior is designed for comfort and convenience in accordance with the needs of the owner. In all, the versatility of the cabin cruiser enables families to live comfortably on board while sailing the seas.

On Deck

The deck of the cabin cruiser usually has a partially covered cockpit area for the steering controls and instrument panel. It may also have an upper deck or flybridge that gives the captain and crew a good view of the surrounding waters. The captain may be able to steer the boat from the flybridge, as well.

Meanwhile, the stern may have a swim platform with a ladder. The swim platform allows passengers to get on or off the boat to enjoy a variety of water sports. A small dinghy can be boarded from the swim platform. Certain deck elements, such as mounted seats and outriggers, can also be a versatile addition for people who fish from the stern area.

The aft deck of a cabin cruiser can have cushioned seats for family members or guests. This area is usually enclosed for the safety of the passengers.

Cabin cruisers and larger yachts were traditionally made from mahogany, teak and other hardwoods. They were often varnished and stained to create aesthetically pleasing vessels. The interiors were also decorated with these fine woods. Cabin cruisers today are usually made from fiberglass that’s lighter and easier to maintain. Meanwhile, towable cruisers come with trailers and are easy to launch to sea.

If this post has piqued your interest in cabin cruisers, check out the many vessels offered for sale online. Before you sail, take a boat safety class. Finally, take your cabin cruiser out onto the sea to enjoy wonderful weekends with your family and friends. 

Motor Yachts: A Way to Share a Love of the Water

When we hear the word “yacht,” the image that pops up is often that of a luxury vessel.

We see shiny white vessels moving through pristine blue waters, with tanned passengers sipping cocktails on the deck.

But, wait! Not all yachts are luxury yachts. In fact, a motor yacht is any watercraft that’s between 23 and 80 feet in length, powered by one or more motors. In today’s market, motor yachts are divided into several types, based on the number of available amenities on board. You’ll find yachts with sparse amenities (such as day cruisers) or luxury yachts that can serve as your home away from home. 

History of Motor Yachts

The word “yacht” comes from the Dutch word jacht meaning “to hunt.” The term traditionally referred to light and fast-sailing ships used to flag down slower-moving craft (think pirate ships). According to legend, Charles II of England was given a yacht when he was restored to the English throne in 1660. Charles used the vessel as a pleasure craft, which is how the yacht earned its reputation for leisure.

Before the late 19th century, the term “yacht” referred to a sailing vessel. It wasn’t until Gottlieb Daimler designed an internal combustion engine that the idea of a motorized yacht materialized. That said, motorized boating didn’t take off until the development of motorized automobiles. 

Originally, boat motors were adapted from automobile motors. By 1910, outboard motors were being designed for boats. The portability of outboard motors made boating a more economical pastime. Meanwhile, boat design evolutions and other technological advances led to significant growth in the motorized yacht market in the 20th century.

Today, motor yachts fit into the following categories:

So, which yacht is right for you? The answer will depend upon your chosen destination and the length of your cruise.

Day Cruisers

Day cruisers are pretty self-explanatory: these are boats to take out for a day on the water. They are more than 23 feet long and have few amenities associated with those on luxury yachts. Day cruisers usually don’t have galleys or heads (latrines), so overnighting would be inconvenient, to say the least. However, they are a cost-effective choice for a day on the water.

Cabin Cruiser or Weekenders

Cabin cruisers or Weekenders are designed for short excursions, usually not more than two or three days. A Weekender is under 30 feet long and has a head and galley for overnighting on board. The cabin space is limited, but this type of cruiser can usually sleep at least four people.

These smaller yachts are ideal for a weekend getaway. They also typically have swim platforms with ladders for easy re-boarding after a quick swim. Weekenders may also have sun pads for sunbathing and relaxing.

Cruising Motor Yachts

Cruising motor yachts are equipped for more extended periods at sea. They may have one or more staterooms. If the vessel has a single stateroom, cabins provide added sleeping space. A galley and head are available to make overnighting more comfortable. Yachts under 40 feet can be operated without a crew, so you can easily take family members or friends on a week-long cruise. 

Sportfishing Motor Yachts

Sportfishing motor yachts are vessels that share the comforts of a cruising yacht but are equipped with fishing equipment. They have sleeping quarters, a head and galley. The fishing equipment takes up most of the deck space on this type of cruiser. You’ll certainly enjoy plenty of sun, as you wait for that marlin or tuna. Below deck, you can relax and share fishing tales at the end of the day.

Luxury Yachts

Luxury yachts are over 40 feet long but under 80 or 90 feet in length. Most luxury yachts require a crew, depending on the size of the yacht. These vessels usually have several staterooms or cabins, with at least one head and one galley on board. Most luxury yachts have a living area, which is the primary social space below deck. A second social area can be found in the dining or lounging area. Some luxury yachts also have an outside steering station or “helm.”

Luxury yachts are a home away from home, and many are customized for such a purpose. Whether you’re looking for a day cruiser or a vessel you can live in for months at a time, a yacht can make your dreams come true!

The History of the Mighty Fully-Rigged Pinnace

Imagine a mighty pirate ship on the open sea. If the image of large sails, mighty masts and huge cannons come to mind, you’re thinking of a fully-rigged pinnace.

In truth, the vessel itself could be a European warship prepared for open-sea battles or a ship’s boat used by settlers to scout out a foreign land.

The Origin of the Pinnace

The fully-rigged pinnace was a 16th-century vessel used as a Northern European warship, merchant vessel or privateer ship. The name comes from the Spanish word for “pine,” which was the type of wood used to build these hardy ships. That said, the design of the ship varied, depending on its main function. Interestingly, the definition of a pinnace can change, as well, depending on the time period in which it sailed.

Arguably one of the most famous pirate ships in history, the Queen Anne’s , is the ultimate example of a fully-rigged ship in action! This mighty vessel, stolen by the infamous pirate Blackbeard in 1717, is believed to have originated as a slave-trading merchant vessel from France.

The 200-ton ship carried more than 30 cannons, packing a fierce punch in the hands of a vicious privateer like Blackbeard.

Types of Pinnaces

The typical definition of a multi-ton, fully-rigged pinnace is that of a craft with two to three masts sporting large, squared sails. It typically looks much like the classic pirate ship in many seafaring stories.

This type of warship carried a significant number of weapons for defense purposes, usually from 18 to 40 guns or cannons at a time. The aftcastle (front part of the ship) sometimes bore intricate carvings or decorative elements and often served as the captain’s private study. The fully-rigged pinnace is considered the predecessor of the 17th-century frigate, a fully-armed, fast-sailing warship that dominated the Age of Sail (1570-1862).

Smaller pinnaces, sometimes referred to as “ship’s boats,” were scaled-down, oared companion ships that were launched independently of the larger ship. They were used to transport personnel or supplies to shore. The size and capabilities of this type of pinnace depended on the size of the warship that carried it. It was also usually equipped with a small sail and up to 16 oars.

The Kalmar Nyckel

One notable fully-rigged pinnace was the Dutch-made Kalmar Nyckel. This armed merchant ship carried Swedish settlers to America in the 17th century to settle New Sweden and Fort Christina in what is now known as Wilmington, Delaware.

Touted as the only colonial vessel to make several successful round trips, this famous pinnace served as a courier and transport for the Swedish Navy when not in regular use.

There is a modern version of the famous Kalmar Nyckel on display in Delaware that’s available for tours! This massive, true-to-history recreation of the vessel was built in 1997 and is open to the public as a tribute to the original ship.

In the summer, this modern facsimile of the Kalmar Nyckel takes daily voyages between its homeport in Wilmington and secondary port in Lewes. Operated exclusively by volunteers, the 300-person crew sails in excess of 3,000 miles a year! Whether you’re a history buff or a sea-faring enthusiast (or both), the modern Kalmar Nyckel will satisfy your nautical curiosity and thirst for adventure.

A Brief History of the RMS Titanic

Few ships have made a mark quite like the RMS Titanic.

The dramatic tale of its tragic end has prompted the making of many films, documentaries and dramas. What was the original purpose of this massive ship, and what went wrong on that fateful morning?

Below, we explore the fascinating history of the RMS Titanic and recount one of the greatest maritime stories in modern history.

The Queen of Ships

The RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) Titanic’s construction resulted from a production race between two major ocean liner companies. In an effort to create the largest and best ship, J. Bruce Ismay, chief executive of White Star Liners, initiated the building of three enormous steam liners. They were called the Olympic, the Titanic and the Gigantic (later renamed the Britannic). Starting at 882 feet long, these would be the biggest ships on the water at the time.

The Titanic was the second of the three, and construction began in 1909. The ship was powered by twenty-nine boilers, two reciprocating steam engines and a Parsons turbine; the latter turned three propellers to move the massive vessel as fast as twenty-three knots

Thousands of workers came together for the multi-year project. The result was a luxury liner unlike any the world had ever seen. The four iconic steam funnels at the top of the ship (only three were actually functioning at the time) gave the Titanic a powerful and commanding presence on the sea.

Dangerous Audacity

The Titanic was built with sixteen compartments, and all were designed to withstand the influx of water. The goal was to keep the ship afloat, even if some of the compartments were damaged. The designers were so confident of the ship’s ability to weather any crisis that they only onboarded 16 lifeboats to accommodate 3,300 people! This meant that only a third of the passengers and crew would be able to get off the ship in the event of a sinking.

The Maiden Voyage

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic launched from Southampton, and the decks of the world’s “greatest ship” were filled with ecstatic passengers. The passengers were heading across the ocean, cheered on by thousands of friends and family members.

The ship stopped in France and Ireland before turning toward its destination of New York.

The Collision

On the morning of April 14, the skies were clear and the sea was calm as the Titanic cruised along. The crew did, however, receive some warnings from other ships about the presence of icebergs in the area. Shortly before midnight, an iceberg was seen directly ahead of the ship, and the captain ordered the Titanic to be turned sharply to avoid a head-on hit. Although impact was avoided, the sizable iceberg’s jagged edge tore a gaping hole along the side of the ship.

The crew was not initially aware of the extent of the damage, and having unfounded confidence in the “unsinkability” of the ship, stayed complacent. This caused a dangerous amount of time to pass before the severity of the damage was assessed.

Unfortunately, the water-tight compartments didn’t perform as the designers intended. Six of the compartments had been damaged, and the ship had begun sinking. Additionally, the sinking ship tilted in such a way as to allow water to seep into the other compartments that weren’t damaged.

Disaster on the Icy Sea

After more than an hour of confusion and delay, the captain ordered the lifeboats to be prepared for the bewildered passengers. The first boat was filled to half its capacity and launched, as were the other lifeboats. Many men died because the ship’s designers and crew believed that the Titanic was unsinkable. According to Business Insider, women survived at a rate of 74%, while men survived at a rate of 20%.

Nearly three hours after the initial impact, the ship plunged under the freezing waves, lights still glowing from the windows.

On April 15, 1912, the unthinkable happened, and the Titanic sank. The sinking claimed the lives of over 1,500 passengers.