The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov


Reference work entry
Umiak (umialak, umiaq, umiac, oomiac, or oomiak) – a large open Eskimo boat used for transporting people and goods. The U. would be anywhere from 6 to 10 m, 1.5–2 m wide, and 70 cm deep. It is usually propelled by two oars and a sail and has a wooden frame covered with skins which are replaced every year. The umiaks are used for fishing and for cargo transportation. They may carry up to 20 people. The U. is also known as a “woman’s boat”, because women usually propel the boat with a spade-like oar while men do the steering.
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016