From the Blog

Traffic on the Seas


Transport on the sea has been popular from a number of years. As technology has developed the frequency, scale and distances of the journeys has increased. Boats today are powered and controlled by the computer chip, coming a long way since when they were first powered by man and the use of the wind. For centuries man has crossed large bodies of water to conquer and invade other nations. The Romans expanded their empire by crossing over the North Sea in 55 BC and in the 9th century the Vikings crossed the North Sea to invade Scotland. As the ships became more developed nations became adventurous in their journeys. From the 15th century onwards there became a battle between certain European nations to discover and claim new territories. In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America and then in 1642 James Cook discovered Australia.

A modern day cruise ship

The journeys circumnavigating the world, became stuff of legends, as these newly built boats undertook adventures which would mean them sailing across some of the roughest seas in the world. These were perilous trips, and many boats were lost as they attempted to round the Cape of Good Hope at the bottom of South Africa, and Cape Horn at the bottom of South America. The ships were powered by either the wind or, when there was none, man would use oars to power the boat. The invention of the steam and diesel engines made the boats far more efficient and reliable in their transport speed.

The passenger boats were responsible for many new countries during the late 19th century and early 20th century being populated. Before the use of commercial airlines after the Second World War the most efficient way to move people from continent to continent was by boat. Since the end of the Second World War people now choose to use air, instead of boat, to be transported large distances as it is quicker. People still use boats for travel but these journeys tend to take place on Cruise Liners. The Cruise ships are made for the wealthy to enjoy their time on the boat.

An oil tanker

The boat is similar to a miniature city offering every service. There are shopping malls, casinos, gymnasiums, dance halls and numerous restaurants that entertain those on board who would rather reach their destination at a leisurely pace as opposed to being rushed through a busy international airport. Ferries are also popular nowadays transporting people, and their cars, relatively short distances. The Dover to Calais route is one of the most popular ferry rides in the world. The opportunity for the visitor to take their car across to another continent is attractive as it enables them greater flexibility in exploring further. Boat travel is very popular in transporting goods, especially heavy ones. The use of container ships means that many containers can be stacked on a boat and be transported large distances. This is a cheap form of travel and has led to much industrial activity growing in and around the ports where these boats set off from.

The creation of the oil tanker has seen boats adapted to carry huge quantities of oil. Often they set off from the Middle Eastern countries and arrive at the oil refineries in other parts of the world. These oil tankers are huge structures but due to technological efficiency they are crewed by relatively few people. The role of boats in transporting armies has been crucial in many armed conflicts in history. Their role has been generally two fold. Firstly they have been used to take armies of soldiers to new destinations and secondly countries navies has been used to control the seas.

There has been many famous battles at sea, even as early as 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar. The 27 strong British fleet fought the combined forces of the Spanish and the French off the south-west coast of Spain. In 1944 British navy and civilian boats combined together to take 160,000 allied troops across the English Channel to fight the Germans. During D Day 7000 vessels were used in this huge operation to move an army, with around 10,000 of these men lose their lives during this invasion.Travelling by sea is still popular today but it has evolved over time.