For as long as humans have dwelled on our bayou-laced landscape, boats have drifted among the placid waters. Local Native Americans built watercraft for 400 generations before European immigrants arrived to mimic their designs. For efficient travel and trade in a wilderness world of wetlands, there were no other options. The earliest boats were dugout canoes or pirogues. Hewn from logs of virgin cypress or water tupelo, some were large enough to carry a dozen passengers or a thousand pounds of freight.