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Home > Vehicles> Ships/ Boats > Civilian
A riverboat is a specialized watercraft designed for operating on inland waterways. While a ferryboat is often used to cross a river, a riverboat is used to traverse it, while carrying passengers and cargo, or both, for revenue.
The most famous early riverboats were on the rivers of the midwestern and central southern United States, on the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers in the early 19th century. It is these early steam driven river craft that typically come to mind when "steamboat" is mentioned, as these were powered by burning wood, with iron boilers drafted by a pair of tall smokestacks belching smoke and cinders, and twin double acting pistons driving a large paddlewheel at the stern churning foam. This type of propulsion was an advantage as a rear paddlewheel operates in an area clear of snags, is easily repaired, and is not likely to suffer damage in a grounding, while by burning wood, the boat could consume fuel provided by woodcutters along the shore of the river. These early boats would carry a brow (a short bridge) on the bow, so they could head in to an unimproved shore for transfer of cargo and passengers.
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