Marsh Land Marine
Boats have been used by mankind for thousands of years to cross seas and transverses rivers. The Narrowboat came into existence during the early Industrial revolution. Before steam-powered locomotives and other more powerful engines came into being, it was a quick and efficient way to move goods from place to place. During the 18th century many canals where built across Europe specifically for narrowboat to cruise up and down carrying vast loads of goods. The vessels were built to accommodate the narrow channels through which the operators were expected to manoeuvre the craft. Horses provided the motive force for these vessels. Similar canal boats existed in other countries, but they did not have to be built to deal with the narrow water ways. As technology improved to did the narrowboat and horses where replaced with diesel engines.
Today, these craft are used as recreation or housing. Many people only use their narrow boats for holidays and during the rest of the year they are stored on boat racking. The builders no longer expect the craft to haul cargo, but they do know that their customers expect a certain level of artistry from them. Narrowboat builders know that people buy it as a vacation home, a regular home, or as a pleasure craft. When someone buys a pleasure craft, he wants it to be more than functional. He wants it to look good as well.
How Do Narrowboat Builders Achieve their Artistry?
Although the idea of a craftsman has since vanished from the world, there are still people who hold true to the ideals. Some of the builders even go out of their way to craft things by hand. The average builder will not go to this extreme, however. The practical parts of the boat which are mostly hidden from view are machine crafted. This speeds up construction time. If the builders want to please the eye as well as make sure that the boat floats, they will do any additional decorations using hand tools.
The additional decorations on the narrowboat include more than just the molding. The molding in part serves a practical purposes. Carvings done on the wood inside will tell a specific tale. It is unlikely that the narrowboat builder will include statuary in their canal boat designs, but if they do, it will also be hand carved.
What about the People Who Use the Boats as Their Home?
Houseboats are not a new idea. People have used the nautical equivalent of the recreational vehicle as their primary home for a long time. The models used for this purpose have to be able to accommodate the occupants. They must do this while accommodating the narrow width that gives this particular vessel its names. This means that many narrowboats must include kitchen facilities, a water closet, sleeping areas, and a general living area. They must fit this into the seven-foot with specified by the builders.
Narrowboat builders no longer have their craft ply their traditional trades, but like many other industries, they have adapted and found a way to survive in the twenty-first century. They do this by allowing the owners of the boats to step into a part of history. It may not be the simpler time that some people portray, but it is also a time without the modern technologies. It's also a time without any of the modern advantages. Many people who want to step back in time seem to forget that not everything was good.