Mail boat

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Large modern day mail boat

Mail boats or postal boats are a boat or ship used for the delivery of mail and sometimes transportation of goods, people and vehicles in communities where bodies of water commonly separate or separated settlements, towns or cities often where bridges were or are not available.[1] They were or are also used where water transport is more efficient or cost effective or other means of transport to the destination is impractical even when roads or flights may be another option.

Nearly any type or size of boat or ship may be used as a mail boat, or mail ship, and the size of the boat may be determined by the needs of the communities it serves or by environmental factors which may influence the boats design for protection of crew, passengers, and items for transport, or requiring lesser draft for shallower waters.

Sometimes a mail jumper jumps off the boat to exchange inbound and outbound mail while the mail boat continues slow movement rather than docking.[2]

Modern day use[edit]

Mail boats are still in use for some communities[3][4][5] and may become tourist attractions, or a means of slow travel[6] while still serving the purpose of mail transit.[7]

The inter-island commerce of some countries depend heavily on mail boat services.[8][9] In these areas the mail boat may be large enough to carry a number of vehicles including tractor-trailers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Early Cape Coral: Mail delivery first came to area by boat". The News-Press. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  2. ^ Barrett, Joe (2016-06-10). "Mail Boat Couriers Spring Into Summer". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  3. ^ SIMMONS-RITCHIE, DANIEL (2013-01-14). "Mail boat still a lifeline for some Oregon residents". KVAL. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  4. ^ Stratton, Mark. "Bahamas by mail boat: Can this unique tradition survive?". CNN. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  5. ^ Finley, Ben. "Protected by seclusion, Tangier Island in Chesapeake Bay keeps eye on virus from afar". Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  6. ^ Amazing Boat Journeys. Lonely Planet. 2019-10-01. ISBN 978-1-78868-700-3.
  7. ^ Rackl, Lori. "A century old, Lake Geneva's mail boat delivers first-class fun". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  8. ^ "Supplies, income fear over Bimini lockdown". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  9. ^ Williams, Gisela (May 13, 2020). "Search for Birds of Paradise in Indonesia, and You'll Find So Much More". Retrieved May 25, 2020.