Baththeli is the traditional Maldivian vessel purpose built to carry cargo and passengers on long distance journeys, especially between distant atolls and Male’.
The baththeli is an adaptation of the traditional Maldivian dhoni. Baththelis are larger than the traditional fishing dhonis and are powered by multiple triangular sails instead of just one. The vessels also have a sheltered cabin for passengers, and space in the hull used as a cargo hold.
Just like the traditionally, dhonis, batthelis were built with coconut wood. However, as dhonis began to be mechanised during the early 1970s, the sails on these vessels also gave way to diesel engines. With modernisation, baththelis began to lose their prominence as bigger and more spacious fiberglass dhonis with modern comforts began to be used for cargo and passenger transport. During more recent times with the introduction and access to faster and more convenient air transport from all around the country baththelis have lost their role in Maldivian marine transport.