His longboat should not be confused with a Long ship; or with a narrow boat. In the days of sailing ships, a vessel would take a number of boats for various uses. One would be a longboat, an open, mainly rowing boat with eight or ten oarsmen, two per spoil. In other words the longboat was double banked: its rowing benches were planned to accommodate two men. Unlike the vessel or the cutter, the longboat would have quite fine lines aft to permit its use in steep waves such as surf or wind against tide where need be.
It had the double-banked understanding in common with the cutter. This was possible as it had a beam alike to a cutter's but broader than that of a gig, which was solitary banked. The longboat was frequently more seaworthy than the cutter which had a fuller stern for such load-carrying work as laying out an anchor and cable. In a seaway or surf therefore, the cutter was more flat to broaching to.