AskDefine | Define flatboat

Dictionary Definition

flatboat n : a flatbottom boat for carrying heavy loads (especially on canals) [syn: barge, hoy, lighter]

User Contributed Dictionary



pl. flatboats
  1. A boxy, flat-bottomed boat used for carrying livestock, freight, and people on rivers.

Extensive Definition

A Flatboat is a rectangular boat with a big bottom and square ends used to transport freight on inland waterways. Essentially a large, sturdy raft, a flatboat also had a raised edge. A flatboat was almost always a one-way vessel, and was usually dismantled for lumber when it reached its downstream destination. Varieties of flatboat in the early 19th century included the mid-range broadhorn and Kentucky boat, and the longer-range New Orleans boat, which was fully covered. An average of 3,000 flatboats descended the Ohio River each year between 1810 and 1820. Abraham Lincoln twice piloted a flatboat carrying produce from Illinois to New Orleans (1828, 1831).
The flatboat gradually became obsolete with as the steamboat and other faster vessels, which could also transport goods upstream at a profit, became popular.


  • Warren County, Ohio and Beyond

External links

flatboat in German: Flachboot
flatboat in Japanese: フラットボート
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