Over time it remained as a valuable stiffener mounted inboard of the sheer strake on commercial and recreational craft. In modern boats, it is the top edge of the hull where there is usually some form of stiffening, often in the form of traditional wooden boat construction members called the "inwale" and "outwale".
On a canoe, the gunwale is typically the widened edge at the top of its hull, reinforced with wood, plastic or aluminum, to carry the thwarts. On a narrowboat or canal boat, the gunwale is synonymous with the side deck - a narrow ledge running the full length of the craft.
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