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Dutch Barge Boeieraak

The variety of barges and barges was great, especially in wood. If the term Boeieraak was used, there is one connecting element: the heve in the bow has a prow. Everything else is possible: the bullwark can fall slightly inwards at the side; sometimes the latter is only the case in the bow and stern. As a rule, the construction is smooth-bored and there is a mountain timber; sometimes such a barge has vault signs and bear teeth. All in all, it then starts to look a bit like a boeiership (the common name for a small tjalkje in the Southwest Netherlands in the second half of the last century). This is perhaps the explanation of the term Boeieraak.

Considering the multiplicity of shapes, it is hardly to be expected that all skippers and shipbuilders always understood the same type of ship under a Boeieraak. People often talked about Zandaken, Rietaken or if the ship could not be brought home under a known name somewhere, simply a Barge.

Wooden Boeieraken have lasted the longest as fishing vessels on salt water, for example in the Zeeland oyster culture. Even then they were used as cargo ships; it was not fished.

In iron construction, the form is imitated. While the wooden ships were generally 12 to 16 meters long, larger sizes were also built in iron, up to 20 meters and more. The plates are rotated, so that the various kinks in the skin disappear. The mountain wood becomes a mountain slab. Sometimes there was a real bow wood, an iron box construction as in the head of a Tjalk.

A Boeieraak was used for all sorts of purposes; transport of sand, gravel, stones, reed and willow wood. The smallest had only a foredeck and forecastle; the larger also has an aft deck with a wheelhouse, possibly a deckhouse, side decks and a hatch cover.

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