A sampan is a relatively flat-bottomed Chinese wooden boat. Some sampans include a small shelter on board and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for transportation in coastal areas or rivers and are often used as traditional fishing boats. It is unusual for a sampan to sail far from land, as they do not have the means to survive rough weather.
The word "sampan" comes from the original Cantonese term for the boats, sāan báan (三板), literally meaning "three planks". The name referred to the hull design, which consists of a flat bottom (made from one plank) joined to two sides (the other two planks). The design closely resembles Western hard chine boats like the scow or punt.
A contemporary sampan comes back from fishing, on the north coast of Java
Small sampan still being used for passenger transportation between islands in Hong Kong
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sampans.|
- "Cranks with Planks presents Sampans -n- Yulohs" (via Wayback Machine) (includes excerpt from G.R.G. Worcester's Junks and Sampans of the Yangtse.)