Welcome to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall
We want to share with you our passion for stories of the sea, of the people who use boats and of the lives of one community for whom the sea has been an essential lifeline and source of food: the people of Cornwall.
This book explains some of the background to these stories as an introduction to the museum.
The sea is a challenging environment. Great maritime figures from the past like Drake, Cook and Nelson took on the sea and survived. They would recognise the feats of modern heroes like Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and dame Ellen MacArthur who have done the same: but alone.
The variety of boats around the world is quite staggering. From the earliest times, people have built rafts and logboats, plank boats and skin boats, using whatever material was available, and have powered them by muscle, wind or engine. They have adapted them for many different purposes.
Whole communities have also relied on boats and the sea for their survival. For generations, the lives of the people of Cornwall have been shaped by the sea. Nowhere in the county is more than seventeen miles from the sea and that sea has been a source of food, trade and a place of tragedy. It could never be ignored.
I think you will be surprised both by the way in which people – and particularly the people of Cornwall – have made the most of the sea, and how boats have been shaped by the lives of the people who made and used them.
We hope you be inspired with us and will enjoy our celebration of the sea, boats, Cornwall and their people.