, typically driving propeller
s or paddlewheel
s. Steamships usually use the prefix designation
SS, S.S. or S/S.
The term steamboat is usually used to refer to smaller steam-powered boats working on lakes and rivers, particularly riverboat
s; steamship generally refers to larger steam-powered ships, usually ocean-going, capable of carrying a (ship's) boat.
1807 Robert Fulton's first American steamboat leaves New York City for Albany, New York on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.
1809 Robert Fulton files a patent for improvements to steamboat navigation
1811 The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrives in New Orléans, Louisiana.
1849 Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS ''California'' in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor.
1854 The San Francisco steamer sinks, killing 300 people.
1865 The steamboat ''Sultana'', carrying 2,400 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom are Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.
1962 The Old Bay Line, the last overnight steamboat service in the United States, goes out of business.