The 4 biggest boating inventions of all time

So much of the technology we take for granted was once invented by minds who saw a way to radically transform the way we boat. To wrap up the year, we’re paying homage to some of the greatest boating innovations of all time.


This blog is the first in a two-part series on amazing innovations in boating.

Watch out for part two in the New Year!


  1. The Deep-V hull

Without a doubt, the deep-V hull is the biggest game changer in recreational boating history. The deep-V was originally created in the late fifties and early sixties by C. Raymond Hunt, a naval architect.


The new style of hull made for a much softer ride, thanks to the angle of the hull meeting the horizontal plane (the high deadrise). This deep-V hull form created a sharp entry, which minimised pounding from waves.


There were other elements that made the deep-V hull far superior in rough conditions and higher speeds too. The high chines, flaring topsides and the even distribution of displaced water, which meant low wave resistance, all resulted in a softer ride.


Without the deep-V hull, we would not be able to head as far out as we do into open waters. So, next time you’re out, thank Ray for the smooth ride.


  1. The magnetic compass

The magnetic compass was invented between the second century BC and first century AD, in China during the Han dynasty. Originally, the compass was used as a  ‘geomancy’ tool in Feng Shui, which is the practice of placing or arranging structures or objects in an auspicious way.


Later, the magnetic compass was used as a navigation and orientation instrument. Obviously, this was a huge innovation for mariners and other kinds of travellers, who could now use the compass to determine their direction.


Originally, magnetic compasses were made out of lodestone, which is a naturally magnetised iron ore. It had a needle or magnetised bar that was able to freely turn on a pivot and align with the Earth’s magnetic field.


The first compasses actually faced South (not North).


  1. The propeller

Pinpointing who actually invented the propeller is a tough one. An article published in Scientific American in March 1853 explains that Col. John Stevens invented the screw propeller in America, yet a fellow named Shorter took out a patent for propelling a vessel by screw.


Some say Josef Ressel, a Czech-Austrian inventor developed the propeller in 1827. Other sources say English inventor Francis Pettit Smith created the screw propeller in 1835, around the same time as John Ericsson, who was working on it separately. Pettit Smith was also accused of plagiarising the design.


The more you delve into the topic, the more confused you undoubtedly become, so let’s just take a step back and appreciate the invention in question. The propeller was and continues to be a major innovation in the boating world.


So, thank you to whoever is responsible for making the propeller happen.


  1. Anti-fouling paint

Before there was anti-fouling paint, boat builders nailed sheets of copper to the hulls of boats to prevent barnacles and other growths from spreading. Around the 1880s, companies including Pettit (which was then called Old Salem) and International (Interlux) began to develop anti-fouling paint.


Written records detailing the treatment of ship bottoms go back to the 5th Century BC. These records show a sharp interest in developing a solution for protecting hulls from fouling, and experts believe the problem was an issue even years before. (We just don’t have the records.)


An early record from 412 BC details a mixture of arsenic, sulfur and Chian oil, which was applied to the side of a ship so it could sail, ‘freely and without impediment’. Other examples include the wax and tar of ancient Greek boats, to wooden sheathing used in the 18th Century.


If you’d like to delve deeper into the history of anti-fouling paint, check out this great piece by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, published in 1952.


Happy Holidays!

We hope you enjoyed our final blog for 2019! From all of us at Trident Marine, we wish you a happy Christmas and New Year. Thank you to all of our amazing clients for your business this year and to our crew, for the great work they do.


As always, please stay safe out there on the water. Our office will be closed from Christmas Day until 2 January 2020. If you have an emergency claim during this time, please phone 0475 789 145.


boat propeller guard