Some of you may know that I have a strong interest in boats and boatbuilding. About 10 years ago, I was building small boats as well as building furniture. On this trip to Thailand, I discovered some very beautiful boats on the Chao Praya river in Bangkok. All, wooden. These that I have pictured just touches the surface. The two on top are tourist/commuter boats. Both are very fast and smooth riding. The river can get rough with all of the traffic. These are definitely more comfortable than a subway or street taxi. The commuter boats come into the dock very quickly and passengers get off and on in stop about as long as a subway stop. The crew used a bosuns whistle to signal passengers loading and unloading. This seems to serve as a signal to passengers but also to the captain who is way out of sight of the dock. These designs all seem to come from the fishing boats that are still used today. These are fast efficient boats that also in my experience seem quite safe. I would love to have the time to do some real research on these designs. Maybe that will be the next reason for a trip to Thailand. Most of these images are of the Longtail taxis that are the fastest. The large automobile engine is mounted on a pivot that allows it to be swiveled for steering as well as the long prop shaft can be lifted clear of the water. You may remember James Bond using one of these to fend off a would be assassin in Live and Let Die.
Ok, time to get back to furniture.
The orange boat (below) that has a very low stern section is a tug that is pulling 5 very large barges. We once saw tow of these pulling a load and they were both healed over to one side so that the lower rail was actually under water. These fatter boats seem to be mostly water taxis or tour boats. They all would make nice house boats.