Four of the original disciples (Peter, Andrew, James and John) were fishermen and used small fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee (Lk 5:2). Although these were the means of their livelihood they left them and followed Jesus (Lk 5:11). Jesus used one of these fishing boats anchored just off the shore from where He taught the crowds (Mt 13:2).
Larger sea-going vessels on the Mediterranean Sea had a capacity to carry at least 276 people together with cargo (Act 27:37,38). Sails utilized the wind although both the fishing boats and larger ships also carried oars (Jnh 1:13; Jn 6:19).
Noah was instructed by God to build a 140 m long ark or floating vessel (Gen 6:14-16).
With any vessel, vigilance is required to ensure any leaks or holes are plugged to stop the inflow of water that will cause the boat to sink. Similarly, we must be on guard so our Christian walk is not endangered by the sin that is all around. Paul said some people have rejected their faith and good conscience and so have shipwrecked their faith (1 Tim 1:19).
Another scriptural analogy is made between a large ship which, although driven by strong winds, can be steered by a small rudder and the tongue which, though only small, can have such an enormous influence (Jas 3:4-6).
See also: ark, Noah, Sea of Galilee.