A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland (lakes) or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a vessel small enough to be carried aboard another vessel (a ship). Another less restrictive definition is a vessel that can be lifted out of the water.
Boats have served as short-distance transportation since early times. Circumstantial evidence, such as the early settlement of Australia over 40,000 years ago, and findings in Crete dated 130,000 years ago, suggests that boats have been used since ancient times. The earliest boats have been predicted to be logboats. The oldest boats to be found by archaeological excavation are logboats from around 7,000–10,000 years ago. The oldest recovered boat in the world is the Pesse canoe; it is a dugout or hollowed tree trunk from a Pinus sylvestris. It was constructed somewhere between 8200 and 7600 B.C. This canoe is exhibited in the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands; other very old dugout boats have been recovered. A 7,000 year-old seagoing boat made from reeds and tar has been found in Kuwait.
Boats were used between 4000 BCE and 3000 BCE in Sumer, ancient Egypt and in the Indian Ocean.
Boats played a very important part in the commerce between the Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamia. Evidence of varying models of boats has also been discovered in various Indus Valley sites.The Uru wooden big boat made in Beypore a village in south Calicut, Kerala, in southwestern India. These have been used by the Arabs and Greeks since ancient times as trading vessels. This mammoth wooden ship was constructed using teak, without any iron or blueprints which has transportation capacity of 400 tonnes.
The accounts of historians Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, and Strabo suggest that boats were being used for commerce and traveling.