My lovely Bride and I were on a short vacation to the home of a couple of friends who live on the river (well, not ON the river, but you know what I mean). They have a boat, of course, so we spent a little time on the waterways of Virginia.

One day, we took a short excursion to an awesome, seafood restaurant (one of my fave things to do—it involves eating). As we were sitting around enjoying our drinks, the sunshine, and the view, my friend imparted a little info to me. He pointed to a grounded fishing boat and told me it was called a “deadrise.” I had never heard the term before and found it to be highly intriguing. I asked him why it was named that, but he wasn’t sure.

Highly Trained

Being a highly trained, technical, twenty-first-century man, I did the logical thing. I checked out one of the search engines on the web. There it was, picture and all.

As it turns out, the term deadrise refers to the hull of the boat. Wikipedia describes these traditional fishing boats like this: “The deadrise is characterized by a sharp bow that quickly becomes a flat V shape moving aft along the bottom of the hull. A small cabin structure lies forward and a large open cockpit and work area aft.” The popularity of these babies is due to the fact that they don’t capsize very easily and are also good for traversing the shallower waters as well. Fishermen, crabbers, and eelers all favor these worthy vessels, and they have been named “the official boat of the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Who knew?

As usual, however, my interest in the name of these crafts was piqued by the obvious link to Scripture. Well, it was obvious to me, at least. Any time someone mentions the words “dead” and “rise” together, theological types like myself tend to go in the direction of resurrection, miracles, and revival. I just can’t help it. I think I was a tad disappointed to find out that the term had no spiritual connotations whatsoever, but I guess the secular world has a place right alongside the transcendent. I suppose it would be a stretch to link the fact that they are fishing boats to Jesus’ call on our lives to be “fishers of men.” Still, deadrise is a cool and unique term. It’s one I will not soon forget.


Be that as it may, all this caused my mind to wander back to my trip to Israel a few years ago. As part of that trip, the group I joined took a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. I was curious to see if it resembled the description of the deadrise. I pulled up a few pictures of the boats used for these tours and found one that looked like the one we had ridden. Aside from the cabin up front, it looked like a deadrise to me.

I’ve been vindicated!

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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