launch

A launch is a large motorboat. The name originally referred to the largest boat carried by a warship. The etymology of the word is given as Portuguese lancha “barge”, from Malay lancha, lancharan, “boat,” from lanchar “velocity without effort,” “action of gliding smoothly” (said primarily of boats and turtles).
In the 1700s a launch was used to set the large anchors on a ship. They had a square transom and were about 24 feet long. In 1788 Captain Bligh was set adrift in the “Bounty’s Launch”.
On the River Thames the term “launch” is used to mean any motorised pleasure boat. The usage arises from the legislation governing the management of the Thames and laying down the categories of boats and the tolls for which they were liable. The term is still in current use and can be seen in the official notices at any Thames lock.
Motor Launch was the designation for large (typically 60 to 115 feet/18.3 to 35.1 metres long) vessels used in the Second World War by the Royal Navy and some other…