5 Amazing Facts About Historic Ship Design

Ship Design

Ship Design: 5 Incredible Facts

Man has been fascinated by the notion of crossing the ocean since the dawn of time. It was the first frontier our ancestors had to brave in order to explore beyond the shores of their own continents. As such, shipping design is a discipline that has developed in close accordance with major events throughout the ages. Here are a few amazing facts about historic ship design that will give you a new appreciation for the modern vessels that traverse our oceans today:

Oars Did Not Develop Overnight

Many of the ‘basic’ shipping equipment we know today took a long time to develop. For instance, our ancient ancestors did not start out with oars. They used to paddle their primitive vessels by hand or move it by pushing poles against riverbeds. It was only later that these rudimentary poles were flattened and widened at the end for use in deeper waters.

Sails Were A Major Game-Changer

The Egyptians famously take credit for developing sailing cargo ships. The sail was a major game-changer – it allowed shipowners to cut down on the number of crew required since their vessels were no longer exclusively powered by human muscles, and they could take on heavier loads, which was great for trade. The first sails that were introduced were square; fore and aft sails came about sometime later.

The Phoenicians Brought Their A-Game

The Phoenicians descended from a thalassocracy, ancient Semitic-speaking Mediterranean civilization that originated in the Levant, specifically Lebanon, in the west of the Fertile Crescent. They are credited for upgrading earlier dugouts to fully-fledged galleys with sails and oars on multiple levels.

The Steam Engine Was a Huge Breakthrough

Skipping forward a few millennia, the Industrial Revolution brought another major breakthrough – the famed steam engine. High-pressure steam made ships far more efficient than ever before and as travel efficiency increased, so too did the power and reach of the shipping industry.

The Wars Spurred On Development

Naval warfare during the First World War spurred on development in this arena immensely. The HMS Dreadnought changed the armament shipping landscape and played a major role in the victory for the Allies. The Second World War also served its purpose by altering the way ships are designed – improving speed and providing more protection from hull damage.

So there you have it – five amazing facts about historic ship design. Inspiring, right? Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months for more expert insight into all things shipping. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with the Link Ship Chandlers team if you would like to find out more about our maritime supply services in Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, Coega, Durban and Richards Bay.


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