We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Riverboats?

By Matt Brady
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Riverboats are water vessels which are used solely for traveling up and down the course of a river. Prior to the 18th century, riverboats were fairly rudimentary canoes and rafts. With the invention of steam technology over the course of the 1700s and 1800s, riverboating was entirely transformed. Large paddle-wheel steamboats began to populate rivers throughout the world, and were used not only for the transportation of people and goods, but also as luxury vessels on which people vacationed. Over time, many riverboats traded in steam power for more powerful diesel engines. Ferries could also be considered riverboats, although they travel from one side of a river to another, rather than up and down it.

Around the beginning of the 19th century, John Fitch and Robert Fulton introduced the technology for steam-powered vessels to the U.S., and a new kind of riverboat was born. Before long, large, multi-tiered steam-powered paddlewheel boats populated U.S. rivers, such as the Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado and Sacramento rivers. Steamboats were quickly adopted on other rivers throughout the world, such as the Yangtze River in China, and the Murray River in Australia.

Steamboats offered larger cargo space than had ever been available before, and thus were naturally used to haul various goods up and down waterways. They were, of course, also used for public transportation. Steamboats were also used as luxury cruise vessels for vacationing travelers, in the same way that many ocean liners had the split roles of cargo ships as well as luxurious getaways.

During the 1800s, the casino industry became deeply intertwined with riverboats, and riverboat gambling became commonplace. In many cases, the casinos didn't actually operate as they boat was moving, but were operated in stationary boats alongside the rivers. Especially in America, many river towns became notorious as gambling hubs, so much so that river gambling—and the infamous gamblers it attracted—became a part of American folklore. Riverboat casinos still operate today in regions of countries where gambling is legal and regulated.

Many cities throughout the world have long used riverboats as a means of getting around town. Perhaps no place is more popular for this than Venice, Italy, where canoe-like boats called gondolas taxi people through water canals that criss-cross the city. There are no cars in Venice, so the gondolas and waterways offer a unique substitute to roads. Other cities along waterways, such as New York City in the U.S., make use of water taxis. Today, riverboats are as widely used as they ever were, only now the array of boats is far more vast. For example, one could still hop aboard an old-fashioned paddle-wheel boat, or take a faster ride on a diesel-powered speedboat.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.