A sampan (Chinese: 舢舨) 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" literally means "three planks" in Cantonese, from the words sam (三, three) and pan (板, plank). This refers 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.