Well smack

Sectional drawing of well smack[1]

A well smack was a type of traditional fishing boat in use between the late 18th century and around 1920. It had a well amidships. The well was filled with circulated external water, which kept fish alive until delivered to land and sold. It was a modified form of a fishing smack.


Between roughly 1775 and 1875, "well smack" referred to a 50-foot gaff cutter used in long-lining for cod, ling, turbot, and other bottom-living sea fish.[2] These vessels were also known as cod boats. From roughly 1875 to 1920, they were extended to make 80-foot gaff ketches, sometimes by the cut-and-shut procedure. Some were built as new 80-foot welled smacks; some were turned into dry ships for use with ice.[3]