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Skiffs appeared for the first time in Ultima V, where the Avatar could either purchase one from a shipwright, or have it included with a frigate. They were necessary to reach the shallow waters that the larger frigates couldn't.
In Ultima VI, skiffs gained the ability travel over all water surfaces, and no could longer dock with frigates. However, a strong companion now was able to carry the skiff to also safely pass underwater rivers.
Small double-lock rowboats, used as lifeboats on frigates, skiffs can make their way through all but the shallowest mud or swamp. Widely used for exploration of riverheads and mountain streams, they are also occasionally found being put to more recreational uses in townes. They provide a charming way to follow the little estuaries that crisscross Britannia. In fact, there are said to be little-known places unreachable by any other means. However, skiffs are unsafe on deep ocean waters.
Several of the port towns along the shores of Britannia boast of craftsmen renowned for their dedication to the construction of safe, dependable sea vessels. Whether you need a small skiff to get upriver, or a mighty sailing vessel for open sea travel, the local shipwrights will be more than happy to discuss terms. It is wise to pay attention to information about local sea and wind conditions before setting out in a new craft.