surf boat

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A large open craft, usually controlled by a steering oar. Propelled by paddles, it was used in the past on beaches in Africa and India for landing passengers and goods from ships which, because there were no deep water ports and the depth of water offshore was very shallow, had to lie a long way offshore. The construction of deep water ports in even the most remote areas has long since made surf boats redundant in these places, but they are still employed in Australia for lifesaving, where they are propelled by oars.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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