Dhows are mostly made of wood and have different uses. They can be used for sailing, fishing, transporting, trading cargo, and pearl diving. The most people who use the dhows are the Arabs and Indians. A Dhow is one- or two-masted Arab sailing vessel, usually with lateen rigging (slanting, triangular sails), common in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. On the larger types, called baggalas and booms, the mainsail is considerably bigger than the mizzensail. Bows are sharp, with a forward and upward thrust, and the sterns of the larger dhows may be windowed and decorated.
For more than two millennia the small, lateen-rigged sailing vessels called dhows were predominant. The dhow trade was particularly important in the western Indian Ocean, where these vessels could take advantage of the monsoon winds; a great variety of products were transported between ports on the coast of East Africa and ports on the Arabian Peninsula and even Bombay and Mangalore on the west coast of India. Most dhow traffic has been supplanted by larger, powered ships and by land transport, and the remaining dhows have been equipped with auxiliary engines.