Barge

Barge

Overview
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland 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...

, built mainly for river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 and canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboat
Tugboat
A tugboat is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal,or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for...

s or pushed by towboats. Canal barges, towed by draft animals on an adjacent towpath
Towpath
A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge...

, contended with the railway in the early industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, but were outcompeted
History of the British canal system
The British canal system of water transport played a vital role in the United Kingdom's Industrial Revolution at a time when roads were only just emerging from the medieval mud and long trains of pack horses were the only means of "mass" transit by road of raw materials and finished products The...

 in the carriage of high-value items due to the higher speed, falling costs, and route flexibility of rail
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

.

Barge is attested from 1300, from Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 barge, from Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

 barga.
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Encyclopedia
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland 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...

, built mainly for river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 and canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboat
Tugboat
A tugboat is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal,or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for...

s or pushed by towboats. Canal barges, towed by draft animals on an adjacent towpath
Towpath
A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge...

, contended with the railway in the early industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, but were outcompeted
History of the British canal system
The British canal system of water transport played a vital role in the United Kingdom's Industrial Revolution at a time when roads were only just emerging from the medieval mud and long trains of pack horses were the only means of "mass" transit by road of raw materials and finished products The...

 in the carriage of high-value items due to the higher speed, falling costs, and route flexibility of rail
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

.

Etymology


Barge is attested from 1300, from Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 barge, from Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

 barga. The word originally could refer to any small boat; the modern meaning arose around 1480. Bark
Barque
A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts.- History of the term :The word barque appears to have come from the Greek word baris, a term for an Egyptian boat. This entered Latin as barca, which gave rise to the Italian barca, Spanish barco, and the French barge and...

"small ship" is attested from 1420, from Old French barque, from Vulgar Latin barca (400 AD). The more precise meaning "three-masted ship" arose in the 17th century, and often takes the French spelling for disambiguation. Both are probably derived from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 barica, from Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 baris "Egyptian boat", from Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

 bari "small boat", hieroglyphic Egyptian D58-G29-M17-M17-D21-P1 and similar ba-y-r for "basket-shaped boat". By extension, the term "embark" literally means to board the kind of boat called a "barque".

The long poles used to maneuver or propel a barge have given rise to the saying "I wouldn't touch that [subject/thing] with a barge pole." This is a variation on the phrase "I wouldn't touch that with a [insert length] pole." It appears that the association with barge poles came after the phrase was in use. Modern usage uses a 'ten-foot' pole, but the earliest instances in print involve a forty-foot pole http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ten, which is improbably long for operating a barge.

Types of barges



  • Admiral's barge
  • Barracks barge
  • Car float
    Car float
    A railroad car float or rail barge is an unpowered barge with rail tracks mounted on its deck. It is used to move railroad cars across water obstacles, or to locations they could not otherwise go, and is pushed by a towboat or towed by a tugboat...

  • Crane Barge
  • Dutch barge
    Dutch barge
    Dutch barges are flat bottom boats, originally used for cargo carrying in the Netherlands, many of which have now been converted for pleasure or residential use. Originally made of wood and powered by sail, most of the existing barges are made of iron or steel and powered by diesel engines...

  • Dry bulk cargo barge
    Dry bulk cargo barge
    A dry bulk cargo barge is a barge designed to carry freight such as coal, finished steel or its ingredients, grain, sand or gravel, or similar materials. Barges are usually constructed of steel. They have an outer hull, an internal void that is fitted with heavy struts and cross braces or...

  • Hopper barge
    Hopper barge
    Hopper barge is a kind of non-mechanical ship or vessel that cannot move around by itself, unlike some other types of barges. Designed to carry materials, like rocks, sand, soil and rubbish, for dumping into the ocean, a river or lake for land reclamation....

  • Jackup barge

  • Lighter
    Lighter (barge)
    A lighter is a type of flat-bottomed barge used to transfer goods and passengers to and from moored ships. Lighters were traditionally unpowered and were moved and steered using long oars called "sweeps," with their motive power provided by water currents...

     and Dumb steel lighter
  • Liquid cargo barge
    Liquid cargo barge
    Liquid cargo barges are barges that transport petrochemicals, such as styrene, benzene and methanol; liquid fertilizer, including anhydrous ammonia; refined products, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel; black oil products, such as asphalt, No...

  • Log barge
  • Oil barge and Dumb steel oil barge
  • Pleasure barge
    Pleasure barge
    A pleasure barge is a flat bottomed, slow moving boat used for leisure. It is contrasted with a standard barge, which is used to transport freight...

  • Power barge
  • Royal barge
    Royal barge
    A royal barge is a ceremonial barge that is used by a monarch for processions and transport on a body of water.Royal barges are currently used in monarchies such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Thailand....


  • Row barge
  • Sand barge
  • Severn trow
    Trow
    A trow was a type of cargo boat found in the past on the rivers Severn and Wye in Great Britain and used to transport goods. The mast could be taken down so that the trow could go under bridges, such as the bridge at Worcester and the many bridges up and downstream. The mast was stepped in a three...

  • Spitz barge
    Spitz barge
    A Spitz, spits, barge is usually a Belgian steel motorized cargo barge of 350 tons, built between the 1920s -50's. During 1920-1929 about 950 spitz barges were built in Belgium. The critical detail for the spitz is the dimension, long and wide. They were especially designed for the Belgian...

  • Thames sailing barge
    Thames sailing barge
    A Thames sailing barge was a type of commercial sailing boat common on the River Thames in London in the 19th century. The flat-bottomed barges were perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary, with its shallow waters and narrow rivers....

  • Tom Pudding
    Tom Pudding
    Tom Pudding was the name given to the tub boats on the Aire and Calder Navigation, introduced in 1863 and used until 1985, which were a very efficient means of transferring and transporting coal from the open cast collieries of the South Yorkshire Coalfield near Stanley Ferry to the port of Goole,...

  • Vehicular barge
  • Canal Motorship
    Day Peckinpaugh (canal motorship)
    Day Peckinpaugh is a historic canal motorship currently berthed at the Matton Shipyard on Peebles Island, Cohoes in Albany County, New York.-Early Years:...


On the Great British canal system, the term 'barge' is used to describe a boat wider than a narrowboat
Narrowboat
A narrowboat or narrow boat is a boat of a distinctive design, made to fit the narrow canals of Great Britain.In the context of British Inland Waterways, "narrow boat" refers to the original working boats built in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries for carrying goods on the narrow canals...

, and the people who move barges are often known as lightermen
Lightermen
Lightermen were workers who transferred goods between ships and quays, aboard flat-bottomed barges called lighters in the Port of London.-History:...

. In the United States, deckhands perform the labor and are supervised by a leadman or the mate. The captain and pilot steer the towboat, which pushes one or more barges held together with rigging, collectively called 'the tow'. The crew live aboard the towboat as it travels along the inland river system or the intracoastal waterways. These towboats travel between ports and are also called line-haul boats.

Poles are used on barges to fend off the barge as it nears other vessels or a wharf. These are often called 'pike poles'. On shallow canals in the United Kingdom, long punt poles
Punt (boat)
A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed for use in small rivers or other shallow water. Punting refers to boating in a punt. The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole...

 are used to manoeuvre or propel the barge.

Modern use


Barges are used today for low-value bulk items, as the cost of hauling goods by barge is very low. Barges are also used for very heavy or bulky items; a typical barge measures 195 by 35 feet (59.4 m × 10.6 m), and can carry up to 1,500 tons of cargo.

As an example, on June 26, 2006, a 565-ton catalytic cracking
Cracking (chemistry)
In petroleum geology and chemistry, cracking is the process whereby complex organic molecules such as kerogens or heavy hydrocarbons are broken down into simpler molecules such as light hydrocarbons, by the breaking of carbon-carbon bonds in the precursors. The rate of cracking and the end products...

 unit reactor was shipped by barge from the Tulsa Port of Catoosa
Tulsa Port of Catoosa
The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is located near the city of Catoosa in Rogers County, just inside the municipal fenceline of Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States....

 in Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 to a refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi
Pascagoula, Mississippi
Pascagoula is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, United States. It is the principal city of the Pascagoula, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area, as a part of the Gulfport–Biloxi–Pascagoula, Mississippi Combined Statistical Area. The population was 26,200 at the 2000 census...

. Extremely large objects are normally shipped in sections and assembled onsite, but shipping an assembled unit reduced costs and avoided reliance on construction labor at the delivery site (which in this case was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

). Of the reactor's 700 miles (1,126.5 km) journey, only about 40 miles were traveled overland, from the final port to the refinery.

Self-propelled barges may be used as such when traveling downstream or upstream in placid waters; they are operated as an unpowered barge, with the assistance of a tugboat, when traveling upstream in faster waters. Canal barges are usually made for the particular canal in which they will operate.

Many barges, primarily Dutch Barges
Dutch barge
Dutch barges are flat bottom boats, originally used for cargo carrying in the Netherlands, many of which have now been converted for pleasure or residential use. Originally made of wood and powered by sail, most of the existing barges are made of iron or steel and powered by diesel engines...

, which were originally designed for carrying cargo along the canals of Europe, are no longer large enough to compete in this industry with larger newer vessels. Many of these barges have been renovated and are now used as luxury Hotel Barges
Hotel barge
The Hotel Barge came into being following the decline in commercial and freight carriage on the canals of Europe. Many working barges have been converted into floating hotels of varying degrees of luxury...

 carrying holiday makers along the same canals they once carried grain or coal.

Towed or otherwise unpowered barges in the United States



In primitive regions today and in all pre-development (lacking highways or railways) regions worldwide in times before industrial development and highways, barges were the predominant and most efficient means of inland transportation in many regions of the world. This holds true even today, for many areas of the world. In such pre-industrialized, or poorly developed infrastructure regions, many barges are purpose-designed to be powered on waterways by long slender polesthereby becoming known on American waterways as poleboats as the extensive west of North America was settled using the vast tributary river systems of the Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

. Poleboats utilize muscle power of "walkers" along the sides of the craft pushing against a pole against the streambed, canal, or lake bottom to move the vessel where desired. In settling the American west it was generally faster to navigate down River from Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Brownsville is a borough in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States, officially founded in 1785 located 35 miles south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River...

, to the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 confluence with the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and then pole up river against the current to St Louis than to travel overland on the rare primitive dirt roads for many decades after the American revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

.

Once the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads reached Chicago, that time dynamic changed, and American poleboats became less common, relegated to smaller rivers and more remote streams. On that Mississippi riverine system today, including that of other sheltered waterways, industrial barge trafficking in bulk raw materials such as coal, coke, timber, iron ore and other minerals is extremely common in the developed world using huge cargo barges that connect in groups and trains-of-barges in ways which allow cargo volumes and weights which would astonish pioneers of modern barge systems and methods in the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

.

Such barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats
Tugboat
A tugboat is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal,or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for...

 or pushed by towboats
Towboat
Not to be confused with the historic boat type with the same name, also called horse-drawn boat.A towboat is a boat designed for pushing barges or car floats. Towboats are characterized by a square bow with steel knees for pushing and powerful engines...

. Canal barges, towed by draft animals on a waterway adjacent towpath
Towpath
A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge...

 were of fundamental importance in the early industrial revolution, whose major early engineering projects were efforts to build viaducts
Viaduct
A viaduct is a bridge composed of several small spans. The term viaduct is derived from the Latin via for road and ducere to lead something. However, the Ancient Romans did not use that term per se; it is a modern derivation from an analogy with aqueduct. Like the Roman aqueducts, many early...

, aqueducts
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

 and especially canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 to fuel and feed the raw materials to the nascent factories being born in the early industrial takeoff, and take their goods to the ports and cities for distribution.

The barge and canal system contended favorably with the railways in the early industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 prior to around the 1850s
1850s
- Wars :* Crimean war fought between Imperial Russia and an alliance consisting of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Second French Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire...

 – 60s
1860s
The 1860s were an extremely turbulent decade with numerous cultural, social, and political upheavals in Europe and America. Revolutions were prevalent in Germany and the Ottoman Empire...

for example, the Erie Canal
Erie Canal
The Erie Canal is a waterway in New York that runs about from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, completing a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The canal contains 36 locks and encompasses a total elevation differential of...

 in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 State is credited by economic historians with giving the growth boost needed for New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 to eclipse Philadelphia as America's largest port and city but such canal systems with their locks, need for maintenance and dredging, pumps and sanitary issues were eventually outcompeted
History of the British canal system
The British canal system of water transport played a vital role in the United Kingdom's Industrial Revolution at a time when roads were only just emerging from the medieval mud and long trains of pack horses were the only means of "mass" transit by road of raw materials and finished products The...

 in the carriage of high-value items by the railways due to the higher speed, falling costs, and route flexibility of Rail transport
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

. Barge and canal systems were nonetheless of great, perhaps even primary, economic importance until after World War I in Europe, particularly in the more developed nations of the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, and especially Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 which more or less made the system characteristically its own.

See also


  • Barges in TUGS
  • Burlak
    Burlak
    A burlak was a Russian epithet for a person who hauled barges and other vessels upstream from the 17th to 20th centuries. The word burlak originated from Tatar word bujdak, 'homeless'...

  • Canal boat Ross Barlow
    Canal boat (hydrogen)
    The canal boat Ross Barlow is a hybrid hydrogen narrowboat, power-assisted by an electric motor whose electricity is supplied by a fuel cell or a battery. It debuted on 21 September 2007.-History:...

  • Car float
    Car float
    A railroad car float or rail barge is an unpowered barge with rail tracks mounted on its deck. It is used to move railroad cars across water obstacles, or to locations they could not otherwise go, and is pushed by a towboat or towed by a tugboat...

  • Hughes Mining Barge
    Hughes Mining Barge
    The Hughes Mining Barge, or HMB-1, is a submersible barge about 99 m long, 32 m wide, and more than 27 m tall...



  • Mobro 4000
    Mobro 4000
    The Mobro 4000 was a barge made infamous in 1987 for hauling the same load of trash along the east coast of North America from New York to Belize and back until a way was found to dispose of the garbage...

  • The American Waterways Operators
  • Towboat
    Towboat
    Not to be confused with the historic boat type with the same name, also called horse-drawn boat.A towboat is a boat designed for pushing barges or car floats. Towboats are characterized by a square bow with steel knees for pushing and powerful engines...

  • Tub boat
    Tub boat
    A tub boat was a type of unpowered cargo boat used on a number of the early English and German canals. The English boats were typically long and wide and generally carried to of cargo, though some extra deep ones could carry up to . They are also called compartment boats or container boats.The...



External links