Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Kuwait Traditional Boat

You can have your sexy sleek powerboat, your modern cabin cruiser, your fabulous yacht. Give me a sunset cruise and evening barbecue on this old boat, with a few old friends, and I’m a happy camper. Every time I see this boat go by, it gives me a grin.

It reminds me of the old Kuwait pearling boats. Can anyone tell me the specific name of this kind of boat?


June 24, 2007 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Lumix, Photos, Random Musings, Uncategorized


  1. You can rent a ride on the Boum Al-Ghazeer that SAS has. Wifey & I went along with some other couples on it, quite nice! It cruised along the coast for a few hours, captain couldn’t take us in deeper due to the weather condition tho.

    I forgot the names (sorry grandpa!) but i know a couple: the boum & the baghla. At least I remember grandpa was the skipper on a baghla.

    Comment by Mini Я | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  2. well in english is dhow.. in arabic its called boum (pronounced “boom”)..

    owning one would be really great but i haven’t got the slightest idea if they are still made or can be bought or anything..

    Comment by snookie | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  3. im not an expert on the subject, But i know a few kinds..
    Alboom + Albghala : are the big cargo boats. they are used mainly for trading and have been known to get to the coasts of zanzibar, india and cylon(sirilanka).
    Abeautiful specimen is in the radisson SAS hotel (AlHashimi II).

    Sanbook: is some what smaller and was used for shorter trips to bahrain and the coasts of iran, qatar and UAE. it carried less men and a smaller payload than the also may have been used for pearl diving.

    Shooey: yet smaller and mainly used for pearl diving and fishing along the coasts of kuwait.
    This might be the one in your picture.

    i also know Jalboot,bitteel and mashoowa … but no idea on their classification.
    hopefull that someone can help out

    Comment by Abdulaziz | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  4. dhows are a fascinating ride. I haven’t tried one in Kuwait yet though.

    As for the types of dhows I found this article online and it details the history of the dhows and all their many different types. Check it out here

    Comment by kinano | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  5. MiniR – Did your grandfather bring home any treasures from his voyages? Do you have any family seafaring stories you can share?

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  6. Snookie, I know they still make them in Oman, in a city called Sur, big building operation. I have seen two being built in Doha, but I am not so sure it is a boat building operation as much as maybe trying to encourage a traditional craft there. They are so lovely and so graceful, aren’t they?

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  7. Thank you, Abdulaziz! As it turns out, you know a lot! 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  8. Kinan! What a great site! And one i have visited before, on Gulf Architecture, I love what he writes! he has taken so much time, talked to so many people and gathered information that Gulf residents KNOW, but if it isn’t written down, that knowledge goes away. I learned so much about the construction of the older houses reading his site several years ago. Thank you! I didn’t know he had written a section on the boats, too. Wow.

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  9. PS Abdulaziz, I think you are right, it is a shuwi. Once used for pearling three months of the year, and fishing the rest of the year. The most common boat in the Gulf, usually seen with fishing traps stacked high over the roof in back. Thank you!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  10. wonderfull site thanks Kinan and thanks to our blogger for the lovely post 🙂

    Comment by Abdulaziz | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  11. sorry thanks Kinano *

    Comment by Abdulaziz | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  12. Just wish I were out on a shuwi today!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  13. Intlxpatr & Abdulaziz:

    You’re most welcome 😀

    Comment by kinano | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  14. Well due to the fact that I was quite young, I don’t remember much of his stories except one made an impression on me.

    Him, my other grandpa (mom’s dad) and my great-grandpa (mom’s grandpa) went to India to trade stuff. There they were given an offer to smuggle gold to Kuwait and they will have their share. So they did. Both grandpas had the gold woven thru the dhow’s ropes as to hide them. But someone told the British Navy that a certain ship is smuggling gold (it was illegal back then, of course).
    When they saw the Navy ship chasing them off the coast of Oman (one says they fired a warning shot..the other said they didn’t (i tend to believe one but not the other..he tells tall-tales). What happened next is they tried to outrun the Navy and started dumping all the gold out to sea (somewhere in the Indian Ocean) then finally stopped. After checking their dhow, the Brits didn’t find anything so they let them go.
    I admit…my family has quite a history..but my grandpa was only a skipper..told me of storms, pirates and smugglers. He later became a Navy man himself (during & after WWII) and then became chief of police during the Arab-Israeli wars. While the other started owning tea plantations and trading tea till he was murdered. Yep, murdered…told you..quite a history. 😛

    Comment by Mini Я | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  15. Mini R, Holy Smokes! Your comment is the best entry on my entire blog, including all my entries. Adventure, smuggling, storms, a chase and even a murder! Holy Smokes!

    Please, please, if any of these dear men are still living (insh’allah) sit down with them and RECORD these stories so that you have them in their own voices. If you could film them, it would be even better. Mini R, these stories you outlined are national TREASURES, and so fragile, they disappear when these men go. Please, save them for your heritage, it is precious, more precious than the gold they were smuggling.

    And you know old guys – they love to talk, if they can find a good listener. The secret is to have a list of good questions to ask them to keep them going. and then just let them rip! Get ’em back on track if you are trying to get a story, or let them drift if they are segueing into another area of interest. The more material the better. I LOVED your comment. Make it a family project and get these memories down for your own children and grandchildren, I beg of you.

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  16. I once chatted with someone online whose main profession (not a hobby) was building dhows. He learnt the craft form his father.

    Check out this article:

    Now Pearl diving is something I really would like to try. I think there are classes somewhere but not sure where or if i can attend 😦

    Comment by Magical Droplets | June 26, 2007 | Reply

  17. I had a student whose father had been a pearl diver in Qatar. He said you had to hold your breath for a really really long time. I don’t believe women were ever encouraged to do that work; the men would go out in the ships and be gone a long time.

    There are actually mariner songs the pearler’s sung – does anyone know those songs?

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 26, 2007 | Reply

  18. […] The fish must be running today. When I got up, there were about 25 fishing boats, the old fashioned shuwi. Sorry, they are about a kilometer off the shore, not a great […]

    Pingback by Friday Fishin’ and New Weekend « Here There and Everywhere | August 31, 2007 | Reply

  19. بتیل ها لنج های خوبی بودند که خیلی وقت از استفاده خارج شده ،در مورد شوئی چیزی نمیدانم.ولی بگاره در منطقه ما استفاده میشده ،جالبوت نیز نوعی لنج معروف بوده ولی ان را نمیشناسم.

    Comment by علی خلیلی بندر بوالخیر | November 5, 2012 | Reply

  20. Bandar, your photos of old boats and boatbuilding in the Gulf are beautiful. I only wish I could read Arabic well enough to understand what you have said.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 6, 2012 | Reply

  21. أنا الایرانی . و احب التاریخ سفینة بحری و قدیمیة .لکن لا جید تکلم بالعربی.أنا ساکن بندر ابوالخیر<فی 70کیلومتر الجنوب مدینة بوشهر . أنا احب بوم

    Comment by علی خلیلی بندر ابوالخیر | November 6, 2012 | Reply

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