Riverboat punting

A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow designed for use in small rivers and shallow water.

Punting is boating in a punt; the punter propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole. Punts were originally built as cargo boats and as platforms for fowling and for fishing, such as angling; whereas now punting is boating for pleasure.

Punts are still made in England to supply the tourist trade in Oxford and Cambridge or for racing purposes. The construction material of choice for most punts is wood. Fibreglass is used for some very light and narrow racing punts. The sides, the ends (known as “huffs”), and the “till” are normally made of hardwood such as mahogany. The treads are often made from teak. The bottom is made of softwood and may be replaced several times during the life of a particular boat.

It would be impossible not to think of punting when eying the Mississippi River from our 2nd storey apartment balcony. Indeed as I do so on this calm Sunday evening in early August, I see between the chirps of the birds and the mumble of the bees that two people on the river are gently guiding locomotion of a very similar sort (though the vessel may be merely a canoe).

There is a more exotic form of travel on the river captured by a wooden platform on which one stands and propels oneself with a pole. I believe the endeavour is called paddle boarding. Among these boarders and canoeists are the kayakers and the rowers. While not prohibited to my knowledge, motorboats when infrequently seen are small.

Nearby along Spring Street adjacent the river is a large park area from which there is at least one boat launch. Routinely I have seen kayakers in particular using the river access from what I presume are their proximate residences.

Just to complete this picture I have this moment seen a party of two upon an inflatable looking boat. One of the boaters appears to be fishing.  I have noticed too that there is a small inflatable raft being dragged by the larger one. What’s particularly noticeable is that there is a dog on the smaller inflatable.