Most travellers move around via land or air.
They go in cars, buses, trains, and planes, but it’s almost always over ground or through the skies!
And you can’t blame them…After all, both domains of transportation offer fast, convenient, and budget-friendly ways to get from A to B.
Yet anyone who sticks exclusively to them all but ignores a third option that rarely gets the attention it deserves:
While it isn’t always a perfect (or viable) choice for itinerant people, this dark horse of getting around boasts a host of advantages that other modes of transport simply don’t.
Want to learn all about them? Keep reading to discover 10 advantages and disadvantages of water transport.
The Advantages of Water Transport
Let’s start with the good stuff. Here are the primary advantages of water transport to know about and enjoy when you’re travelling.
1. It’s Peaceful and Relaxing
The first thing to know is that travelling by water is almost always a peaceful affair.
It varies by the specific mode of transport you’re taking, of course. But, in general, you’re in for a nice and relaxing time.
Think about kayaks or sailboats, for example. There’s no roaring aeroplane engines or highway road noise to worry about here! It’s just you and the elements.
You have the calming effects of water to enjoy too. I, for one, can’t help but feel more chilled out when I’m next to a body of water.
Whether I’m hanging out on a beach or catching a ferry somewhere, there’s something about it that relaxes the mind and soothes the soul.
2. It’s Fun, Novel, & Adventurous
As I said in the intro, travelling by water isn’t as common as other ways to get around. I mean, it’s called ‘hitting the road’ and not ‘hitting the sea’ for a reason, right?
Most people take the bus instead of the boat.
And that novelty-factor alone can make the entire process feel far more interesting and adventurous. Undimmed by the familiarity of cars and planes, you’re in for a far more exciting time.
Better still, the reality of travelling by water is often no less adventurous than the idea of it.
Whether you’re hitting the seven seas in a sailboat or exploring secret coves in a kayak, you’re doing something fundamentally more exhilarating than other modes of transport.
3. It’s Safe!
Films like Titanic, Captain Phillips, Adrift, and Deep Blue Sea don’t send the greatest message when it comes to safety at sea…
Thankfully, though, the reality of water transport’s very different:
It varies slightly by the exact way you’re getting around (jet skis will always be more dangerous than canal boats, for example!). Yet the likelihood of coming to harm when you travel by boat is minimal- especially when you compare it to something like road travel.
4. It’s Super Varied
Another reason that water transport stands out in my mind is for the variety on offer.
Think about it:
Jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, ferries, canal boats, cruise boats, sailboats, mega-yachts (if you’re lucky), paddle boats, catamarans, rafts...There’s no shortage of ways to travel on water.
And all of them offer a distinctive and entertaining experience!
I know, the same could be said for going on land (with buses, trains, cars, bicycles, motorbikes, and more to choose from).
Combine that variety with the novelty and wow factor of travelling over water, though, and I reckon you’re onto a winner- especially when you’re a traveller on the hunt for new experiences.
5. It’s Better for the Environment
Ordinary cars and planes are bad news as far as the environment goes. They burn endless amounts of fossil fuels and release mind-boggling quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Oh, and don’t forget the noise pollution (remember the peace and quiet of travelling by boat!).
Now, many types of boats aren’t what you’d call ‘great’ in the environmental either.
But- if only because of the relative lack of them compared to cars and planes- they’re surely a better option for the ecologically-minded traveller…Especially when you’re powered by the wind!
It means that you can get from A to B without having such a negative impact on the environment.
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The Disadvantages of Water Transport
It isn’t all hunky-dory though! There are various disadvantages of water transport to consider too. Check out this next section to learn all about them:
1. It’s Slow
One particular pitfall of most water transport comes down to time.
Basically, if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere that’s a long way away, then you might want to look elsewhere!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re going by ferry, kayak or sailboat, you move at a snail’s pace versus planes (and even some trains).
As much as I like slow travel compared to racing from place to place, sometimes you need to be somewhere fast. And, in those instances, going by water mightn’t be the best bet.
2. It Can Be Expensive
Here’s another disadvantage of water transport that’s related to travelling longer distances:
Getting from A to B by boat can be far more expensive than other forms of transport (such as flying)! For one reason or another, travelling over water can often cost an arm and a leg compared to what you’d expect to pay by land or sky.
That’s bad news for budget travellers! When money’s tight, travelling over water can put serious pressure on your purse strings.
3. It (Sometimes) Makes You Seasick
There are some practical challenges to going by boat as well. One of the worst?
It’s a thing. And it sucks.
Some people suffer worse than others, but anybody who spends time on the ocean can expect to experience it at some point. And, whether you feel a vague nausea or suffer uncontrollable vomiting, it’s never fun.
4. Weather/Storms Can Cause Trouble
It’s true that travelling on water’s a safe form of transport- especially when you compare it to other options (such as going by car and motorbike).
However, there’s no denying that adverse weather conditions and rough seas can reap havoc on the experience.
You only have to do a quick Google search to see how devastating storms can be at sea!
Indeed, the power of the ocean can be a scary thing. Riptides can pull you out, waves can knock you about, and serious storms can rip huge vessels apart like rag dolls.
5. It Can Be Impractical
Last but not least, there’s a level of impracticality to water transport.
First and foremost, you need water for it to be an option, right!?
That means it just isn’t viable for landlocked travellers looking to get around. As much as you might want to avoid road or air travel, you’ve got no other choice if there’s no waterway in sight.
Add that to the slowness and expense involved and going by water can often feel infeasible. Budget travellers looking to go long distances with limited time are arguably better off looking to other forms of transport.
Remember these Advantages and Disadvantages of Water Transport
Water transport’s often overlooked by hurried travellers looking to get from A to B.
Accustomed to going by land and sky, travelling by water gets ignored until an occasion when it’s the only possible option.
Hopefully, the advantages of water transport in this post have revealed why that’s such a shame!
Aside from the odd downside, going by boat (whatever the type) is a novel and exciting way of getting around that offers a host of unique rewards. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of water transport the next time you’re wondering how to get to your chosen destination.