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A watercraft is a vehicle that is designed to move through water. Most watercraft are either a boat or a ship. There are many other types that don’t fit those categories but travel through water just the same. Kayaks, rafts, canoes, catamarans, windsurfers, jet skies, torpedoes, stand up paddle boards and surfboards are all technically water going craft. The word ship is usually reserved for larger vessels and boats tend to be smaller although it is not always the case. A ship is a large ocean traveling craft, while boats stick to coastal waters or inland bodies of water (such as lakes and rivers). Submarines are also called boats but not considered to be a boat per say. The term watercraft is rarely used in maritime lingo.

It merely serves as distinction between other types or craft. These vessels can be used in fresh or salt waters. It doesn’t matter if it is for pleasure, recreation, commerce, transport or military missions; it is still considered to be watercraft. There are various methods for watercraft propulsion. Sail boats use large canvas (or other material) sales to catch the wind. An outboard motor is attached to the rear of a vessel and propels it through the water. An inboard motor on the other hand is inside, under the deck of the boat. There is also water jet propulsion. Jet skies and Sea Doos use this technology. A pump sucks up water (fresh or salt) and forces though a tapered cone, thus creating pressure and moving the craft.

There are also fishing boats (Boston whalers) and racing boats which use this. The advancement in composite technology has expanded the design capabilities of vessels. Up until fairly recently the only material watercrafts were made of was wood and later on metal. Now carbon fiber and fiberglass are used to create faster and lighter vessels. The use of these composite materials has taken competitive racing and sailing to new levels. Navigation watercraft has also gotten easier due to the implementation of electronic devices.

Global positioning systems and sonar depth finders help make traveling by way of water safer and more enjoyable. Humans have been navigating large bodies of water for thousands of years and the basic technology remains pretty much the same. Watercrafts are used all over the world in fresh and salt waters for recreation and work. Many cultures depend solely on their ability to harvest and navigate coastal waters.