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Pearling dhows/boats of Persian Gulf
March 05, 2024

Some years ago I visited Kuwait and the amazing marine museum in Kuwait City that has several life size pearling dhows on display.

To me they looked all alike until at closer inspection, I realized there are different types.

In 1838, Lieutenant J. R., Wellsted, an officer in the British India service, reported that the fisheries of the gulf employed 4,300 boats, manned by somewhat more than 30,000 men. Of these boats, 3,500 were from the Island of Bahrain, 100 form the Persian coast, and the remaining 700 from the Pirate Coast situated between Bahrain and the entrance to the Gulf of Oman.

Batteel Dhow

Of all the pearling dhows built in Kuwait, the Batteel is the most ancient and the most remarkable looking, its ancestor was the famous Badan of Oman, which was mainly a fishing boat.

Sanbouk Dhow

The Sanbouk is the Kuwait pearling dhow par excellence. It is larger than Shuwi and was never used in any other profession but pearling. There were hundreds of such vessels involved in the annual pearling season in Kuwait at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Jalboot Dhow

This was a popular type of vessel in the pearling fleet of Kuwait. She is called Jalboot and is distinguished by the stern which is at almost a right angle to the keel.

Shuwi Dhow

This is another pearling vessel of Kuwait called Shuwi. A Shuwi is usually smaller than a Jalboot and, like her, used sails and sweeps during pearling trips. It seems that no other country built this kind of pearling ship.


Here's a photo of me on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Little did I know at the time that I would one day be selling natural pearls and pearl jewelry from the Persian Gulf but it's now one of the most fun things about my business.

I enjoy traveling, but I also love being home—checking on the mama ewes and their babies in the pasture by the creek, making sure they're all safe, gathering eggs from our chickens, and watching our grandchildren build forts in the forest.

God bless and thank you for being a part of KariPearls.


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