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When Was the Boat Invented? – Facts You Should Know

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

when was the boat invented

Have you been thinking about “When was the boat invented and evolved from what it used to be?”

Boats are known as effective water-borne transport or watercraft caused to move using a lot of ways. These water-faring crafts were built thousands of years ago and were used by people to transfer from one place to another.

Read on for more details about them and their development.

Fast Facts and History of Boats


1. What Is A Boat?

The features of a boat can vary depending on how one needs or wishes to use it. In the early days before there were carts or wagons, people traveled by boat from one place to another.

The first boat ever made was described as a water-faring mode of transport for various purposes. Any boat invention nowadays is used for commerce, pleasure, and a lot more than the first boat in history was.

These watercraft types became vital for fishing, shipping, and waging wars, regardless of when boats were made. Any boat can be a raft, which is made of logs tied together or a canoe carved out of a hollow tree.

Regardless of their boating purposes, any motor boat invented or sailboat created was to make use of their power. And people use oars or paddles, sails, and motor engines to make use of the water current, wind, or fuel.

The term boat is commonly used to tag smaller watercraft at about 40 feet in total dimension. “Boat” is the common word for various water vessels, ships, marine craft, or watercraft and boat types.

2. When Was the First Boat Made?

The history of boats, vessels, or ships started and was lost over prehistory times despite their essentials in water-faring transport. However, the surviving remains of containers placed in museums indicate that humans used watercraft.

Humans have been on water though no one knows when the first ship was built. They used logs or bundles of debris and learned to make rafts, and the first boat invented was from there.

The Egyptians were believed to be the builders of the first boats at least 6,000 years ago. These earliest boats were small and described as canoes or dugouts made of papyrus reeds. They were rowed with paddles.

Greeks and Phoenicians followed, building their own ships if you still wonder when were boats created by other shipbuilders. They used low flat ships or galleys as a merchant and warships powered by rowers and sails.

There were remains of ancient bases discovered with inscriptions that showed boats were made as early as the Mesolithic age. Boats nowadays are far more advanced than the oldest boat in the world or what the middle stone age had.

3. The Origin and Evolution of Boats

The evolution of boats traces its origin through fossils of the oldest boats about 7,000 to 10,000 years old. Over time, people learned to develop more tools and began building more types of boats of various sizes and shapes.

Boats evolved from plants or woods though no one knows the exact origin or who invented the first boat. Most early people used skinned plants, reeds, and trees to build their boats or dugout canoes.

One piece of evidence, the Pesse Canoe, is about 10,000 years old and found carved out of a tree. They simply dug the center of the tree and made room for them to sit and row it.

Among early shipbuilders, the commonly featured waterborne transport was the Egyptian sailboat confined in the narrow channel of the Nile river. These Egyptian sailboats resort to rowing as an all-time alternative to using sails that are dependent on winds.

Later on, these sailboats were developed to venture into open seas with more rowers or oarsmen. More and more boats, ships, and larger vessels were built like the Bireme (two-level) and Trireme (three-level) sailboats.

4. The Difference Between A Ship, A Boat, or A Vessel


The use of the word “boat,” “ship,” or “vessel” comes with a wide array of types of boats today. These boat types may seem to have different intents of use but they are still all coined as boats.

Any watercraft propelled by sail, oar, or motor that is intended to transport over waters is a boat. Compared to deep-water vessels, smaller vessels may not be capable of surviving in the high seas or ocean.

Those intended for extended travel in the ocean are also called ‘open-sea-transport’ and are large vessels or ships. They are designed to be about 200 feet in total dimension and can withstand varying weather and pressure.

Those being used ashore, in lakes, and in smaller water bodies are referred to as boats, canoes, lakers, dinghies, rafts, or tenders. It simply means they are quite small to be considered a vessel or a ship of any type.

Overall, these types of watercraft or boats can be classified as sailboats, motorboats, and unpowered boats. They vary more in terms of specifics like angling and cruising than what they were when they were first created.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Were Early Boats Used?

The early boats were used to transport people and goods. Humans have traversed bodies of water like lakes or rivers for trade, exploration, and settlement since the early ages.

Similarly, the first boats are likely to have been used for long distances. They may not have carried much load but may have been used for colonization or even war. Earlier civilizations like the Greeks, Arabs, and Romans showed records of creating and using boats mainly for trading.

2. What Defines A Boat?

You can name a boat the way you want to call it when you’re uncertain about what you’re looking at. The rule of the thumb is you can define it based on its overall appearance.

Each boat or watercraft has a wide range of sizes, shapes, passenger, and cargo capacity. Larger watercraft types like fishing, cargo, cruise, or tanker ships can carry tender boats on them.

Any watercraft used for open sea fishing is called a vessel. Those for deep-water cruising are basically ships. It’s a boat if it’s shorter and fit to traverse small water bodies.


Choosing boats and how long they were used is tricky and can leave you wondering “when was the boat invented.” Understanding the boat’s history, evolution, features, types and other facts about a boat is what this article provides you.

We are glad this article has eased your expectations to know how and when boats were invented into better ones. You can make use of these essential tips from experts as your practical buyer’s guide to get the right one.

Let this article featuring a boat’s history, origin, boat types, features, and commonly asked questions complete your understanding.

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