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Sampan on the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), China

A sampan (Chinese: 舢舨pinyin: shānbǎn) is a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from 3.5 to 4.5 m (approximately twelve to fifteen feet) long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for fishing or transportation, in coastal areas or rivers. It is unusual for a sampan to sail far from land as they do not have the means to survive rough weather.

The word "sampan" comes from the original Cantonese term for the boats, 三板 (sam pan), literally meaning "three planks"[1] , although this term is deprecated in modern Chinese. The name referred to the hull design, which consists of a flat bottom (made from one plank) joined to two sides (the other two planks). The design closely resembles Western hard chine boats like the scow or punt.

Sampans may be propelled by poles, oars (particularly a single, long oar called a yuloh) or may be fitted with outboard motors.

Sampans are still in use by rural residents of Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Indonesia,Bangladesh, and Vietnam.

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External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SAMPAN, the name of the typical light boat of far Eastern rivers and coastal waters; it is usually propelled by a single scull over the stern, and the centre and after part is covered by an awning or screen of matting. The word is said to be Chinese, san, thin, and pan, board. Others take it to be of Malay origin.


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