Paddle Wheel River Boats
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   Paddle Boats | Mississippi River Boats

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Historical Mississippi Paddle Boat

The Mississippi is a very large river, one of the largest in the world. This river runs the length of the United States and spills into the Gulf of Mexico. Crossing this river has been a difficult venture historically. It was not until the Mississippi paddle boat was created that travel across and along the river became more practical. Up until this point, people waded and built small rafts to cross the river. This meant that the travel was simply to get across the river, rather than to visit the villages and homes that dot the river.

Wading and the use of a small raft to get across the mighty Mississippi is a very risky venture. This river is very wide in spots and is known for having dangerous currents. This can make wading difficult and the rafts tricky to maneuver. Couple this with the frequent reports of Bull Sharks in the Mississippi river; there has always been a very real concern about how to cross this river. There are bridges that cross the river, but these bridges can be out of the way for some individuals and may mean longer travel times. The Mississippi paddle boat has changed all this.

The Mississippi paddle boat was originally designed to be a permanent style shuttle to take people across the river. The success that these boats gained caused an increase in production and more people began to own large boats of this style. Some enterprising individuals decided to make the Mississippi paddle boat into a miniature cruise vessel that specialized in the Mississippi river. This led to the production of several paddle boats with luxury in mind. The rooms in these paddle boats were well decorated and quite classy. The dining halls were well stocked and very luxurious and the quiet paddling sound was found to be very pleasing to those aboard the shifts.

The Mississippi paddle boats were significantly larger than the other boats on the Mississippi at the time. These boats often had a coal or steam driven engine that turned the paddles at the back of the boat. The boat was steered by shifting the angles of the paddles and sharp turns could be made by turning off one set of paddles while allowing the others to continue turning. Since these boats were considerably larger and included an engine that needed to be continually fed, the crew size on these vessels were considerably larger than the average boat on the river. This boat needed at the minimum two people to operate it, although most were ran with a crew of three or more with people on the boat watching out of debris or other obstacles that could damage the boat.

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