A launch is a large motorboat. Originally it was the largest boat carried by a warship. The word comes from the Portuguese lancha "barge", from Malay lancha, lancharan, "boat," from lanchar "velocity without effort," "action of gliding smoothly" (said primarily of boats and turtles).
On the River Thames the term "launch" is used to mean any motorised pleasure boat. The usage arises from the legislation governing the management of the Thames and laying down the categories of boats and the tolls for which they were liable. The term is still in current use and can be seen in the official notices at any Thames lock.
Motor Launch was the designation for large (typically 60-to-115-foot or 18-to-35 m long) vessels used in the Second World War by the Royal Navy and some other navies. They were used for inshore work in defending the coast from submarines and carried relatively light armament: a few depth charges, a gun and a few machine guns.
In competitive Rowing the term 'Launch' is used to refer to any motorised boat used by the coach to follow practising boats during workouts.
- RAF Rescue Launch
- Cabin cruiser
- Slipper Launch
- Naptha launch
- List of Spanish words of Austronesian origin
- AskOxford: Launch
- Thames Conservancy Act 1932
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