When you are writing speculative environmental fiction about future worlds (as in the solarpunk and cli-fi genres) you embellish present-day technology with marvelous new features. When your invented world is based on history, you research and repurpose features of past cultures.
My original encounters with eels were not pleasant. My mother, fond of roasted eel, liked me to catch them for her with a drop line. All the other fish I hauled onto the dock flopped about and died of natural causes. An eel, however, was a living breathing nightmare. It failed to drown in the air, so I had to bash it over the head with a hammer.
Ever since the summer when I was nine years old and my family lived on a boat moored in a New England harbor, I have loved small boats. We had great big Elco cruiser, but in order to play with my friends I rowed our little dinghy ashore. Nowadays I am utterly content to ply a stout little kayak up and down the Betsie, a narrow, winding river in northwest Michigan.