A sampan (Chinese: 舢舨) is a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from 3.5 to 4.5 m (approximately twelve to fifteen feet) long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for fishing or transportation, in coastal areas or rivers. It is unusual for a sampan to sail far from land as they do not have the means to survive rough weather.

The word "sampan" literally means "three planks" in Cantonese, from the words "sam" (三, three) and "pan" (板, plank). [ [ Merriam Webster online dictionary] ] This refers to the hull design, which consists of a flat bottom (made from one plank) joined to two sides (the other two planks). The design closely resembles Western hard chine boats like the scow or punt.

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

Sampans may be propelled by poles, oars (particularly a single, long oar called a "yuloh") or may be fitted with outboard motors.


External links

* [ C. Andrade, Jr • The RUDDER, July (1917). "Chinese Sampan Teaches Much to Designers".]
* [ "Cranks with Planks presents Sampans -n- Yulohs"] (includes excerpt from G.R.G. Worcester's "Junks and Sampans of the Yangtse.")

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  • Sampan — Sam pan, n. (Naut.) A Chinese boat from twelve to fifteen feet long, covered with a house, and sometimes used as a permanent habitation on the inland waters. [Written also {sanpan}.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sampan — light Chinese boat, 1610s, from Chinese san pan, lit. three boards, from san three + pan plank …   Etymology dictionary

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