Prior to the 1950s there was little standardisation of fishing boats. Designs could vary between ports and boatyards

Ernest Dade sketched fishermen and their boats along the coast between the Tees and Humber and on the Dogger Bank fishing grounds for more than half a century. They recall the days when sail and hands provided the power for a growing fishing industry from the mid-19th century.

Large fleets of sailing trawlers called smacks operated with the drifters and line-fishing vessels called yawls; the smaller boats were the cobles, a family boat peculiar to Yorkshire coast used along the shore for catching crabs, lobsters, etc., and also for long-lining.