What Are Types of Water Transport?

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There are many types of water transport, including barges, ships, ferries, tug boats, rigs and sailboats. Vessels used for water transport may serve several purposes, but they are primarily used to move people and goods across bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, canals and rivers. Water transport ships vary widely in size and carrying capacity; some may seat two or three people, while others carry large quantities of oil and other consumer products.

Water transport is commonly used by the maritime industry, which includes several sub-categories. Freight and cargo transportation, passenger boats such as charters and ferries, and commercial fishing are all categories within the maritime industry, and rely on watercraft for water transportation. Some water vessels carry only people, and others transport primarily cargo, while others transport both. Ferries, for instance, might carry people and luggage, possibly even cars, to their destinations. Fishing boats bring fishermen and women out to open waters to fish, and typically have storage capacity to bring back catch. Some water transport vessels also process materials and goods in addition to moving them from one place to the next. An example is catcher-processing fishing ships, which prepare fish and seafood for sale on the market at their final destination.