The word Viking comes from the Old English word wicing, which means pirate. And they did pirate-like things—they raided and pillaged and had very good ships with a unique shape and design. The Viking longboat was crafted out of wood and had cloth sails. The hull was shallow which meant Vikings could navigate in waters down to one meter deep, and even land on beaches.
Another unique characteristic was that the ship was ‘double-ended’, which meant it could reverse direction without having to turn around, which was useful in seas full of ice and icebergs.