Monday, June 18, 2007


A sampan (舢舨) is a comparatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from twelve to fifteen feet long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent occupancy on inland waters. Sampans are normally used for fishing or transportation, in coastal area or river. It is unusual for a sampan to sail far from land as they do not have the means to survive rough weather conditions.

The word sampan literally means three planks in Cantonese language; it is derived from the words Sam (three) and pan (plank).

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

Sampans may be propelled by oars or may be fixed with outboard motors. These motors may be motorized by petrol. However, not all outboard motors are petrol powered (eg: electric motors used in a Malaysian firefly sanctuary, as petrol fumes are toxic to fireflies.)

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