The marine industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Meanwhile, marine transport underpins the global economy. For instance, the global marine vessel market was reportedly worth $168.5 billion in 2020, underlining the sector’s critical role.
Typically, many different types of vessels are used for professional maritime transport. That aside, these vessels regularly need upkeep, accessories, or upgrades, and a marine supply shop can provide the necessary products, including but not limited to:
- Ropes and lines of different types
- Boat parts
So, what are the most common types of vessels? Here’s an in-depth look at various types of vessels for professional use:
1. Fishing Boats
These are among the most common type of vessels used in marine transport. They are typically small and agile, making them ideal for maneuvering through tight spaces.
Fishing boats also have a relatively shallow draft, allowing them to access areas larger vessels cannot reach. That said, they are not well-suited for carrying large loads, and their small size makes them more susceptible to damage in rough weather.
2. Cargo Ships
Cargo ships are much larger than fishing boats and are specifically designed for transporting large quantities of goods – their deep draft makes it easier for them to take up such a role. However, they are less maneuverable than their smaller counterparts and require a crew of trained professionals to operate effectively.
3. Passenger Ships
As the name suggests, passenger ships transport people (paying guests and crew). They are also available in various sizes – from small ferry boats to large cruise liners. Ferry boats, for instance, have a shallower draft than cargo ships, making them better suited for coastal waters.
Cruise liners, on the other hand, are usually comfortable and luxurious, with amenities like restaurants and pools – the list goes on. And given the wide range of amenities some vessels have, they can cost a pretty penny to build and operate.
If your business plans to transport large quantities of goods over water, chances are you will use a barge. These large, flat-bottomed, and sturdy vessels are designed to carry heavy loads such as coal, oil, and other bulky commodities. Plus, they tend to be easily maneuverable, even in tight spaces.
Barges provide a stable platform for cranes and other heavy equipment, making them a great choice for construction projects. They also transport vehicles or oversized pieces of machinery.
Moreover, they frequently facilitate environmental cleanup efforts, as they help remove debris from waterways or contain oil spills. No matter the application, barges are essential for businesses operating on or near waterways.
Tugboats are used for towing other boats and ships. They are typically small, making them well-suited for this task as they are easy to maneuver. What’s more, they have a relatively shallow draft, allowing them to work in tight spaces. Tugboats are also outfitted with powerful engines for pulling large vessels. For instance, if a cargo ship plans to cross a usually narrow canal, it will need a tugboat to tow it through the waterway.
Dredgers are machines used to remove sediment from a body of water. They play a pivotal role in the construction industry by helping prepare an area for development or to maintain navigable waterways. Dredgers can also complement environmental efforts by restoring wetlands or helping improve water quality.
Various types of dredgers exist, with each designed for a specific task. Case in point, experts typically use cutter suction dredgers for digging canals and harbors. On the other hand, bucket dredgers are better suited for environmental projects.
7. Semi-submersible Vessels
If your cargo is too large, odd-shaped, or bulky for a cargo ship or barge, then a semi-submersible vessel may come in handy. These types of vessels can submerge partially to allow mounting of your load. After that, it emerges upon emptying its ballast tanks.
These vessels have a wide range of professional functions, from deep-sea drilling and research to offshore construction (particularly the installation of underwater pipelines and cables) and tourism. The most common type of semi-submersible vessel is the drill ship – for exploratory drilling in deep water.
Similarly, research vessels used to study the ocean floor and conduct meteorological and geological surveys also feature a semi-submersible structure. Also, several companies offer tourist cruises on semi-submersible vessels, providing passengers with an up-close view of marine life.
Overall, these are a few different types of vessels used in maritime transport. If you’re operating a business near a waterway, it helps to understand the capabilities and limitations of each type of vessel. Doing so ensures you select the most appropriate option based on your needs.