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A Madurese golekan in Martapura river, Banjarmasin. COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Een Madurese prauw op de Martapura-rivier Bandjermasin TMnr 60040661.jpg
A Madurese golekan in Martapura river, Banjarmasin.
Madurese golekan with crab claw sails COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Madoerese prauwen Soerabaja TMnr 10010482.jpg
Madurese golekan with crab claw sails

Golekan is a type of traditional boat from Madura, Indonesia. They once plied as far as Singapore, where they are referred to as Madurese traders. In the present this type of boat is only known locally, especially near Bangkalan in Western Madura and around the Kangean islands. [1]



Dutch observer van Deventer wrote that it means "freight seeker". [2] Gibson-Hill stated the name comes from Malay word golek, which he claimed meant crank (tender, or 'tippy') when applied to a canoe. Rather, the name derived from kolek, a Javanese word for 'boat', applied to a wide range of small craft along the north coast of Java. [3] Thus the name golekan would meant 'a kind of kolek'. [4] Golekan in Madurese culture were regarded as "male", being referred to as parao laki (male boat), so it has different ornamental motif from lis-alis and janggolan (parao bini - female boat). The primary symbol was the rooster, associated in Indonesian culture with combat and fearlessness. [4]


A golekan (left) in Banjarmasin. COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Riviergezicht met een Madurese prauw Bandjermasin TMnr 60018683.jpg
A golekan (left) in Banjarmasin.

The golekan is an indigenous perahu type, with no trace of modern influence in hull form, construction, or sailing rig. Despite the traditional nature of design, golekan appears to have been a relatively recent development. [5] Golekan had single large and fat linggi (stempost) just like leti leti, with gulungan motifs painted black. It has deckhouse without secondary cabin at the aft of the boat. Usually had 2 sails (usually lete sail), with upper beam supported by temporary pole and mast at the direction of the wind, or at both side of the boat, with support ropes at both upper beam. [1] The hulls were always painted white, with polychrome sheer stripe, and the upper portions of end posts, as well as the finials painted black. [5] Medium-sized golekan used as fish transporters were about 12 metres in length with a long deckhouse. [6] The golekan of Telaga Biru were both larger and more numerous than elsewhere, consistent in size at about 55 feet (16.8 m) length and 14 feet (4.3 m) beam. The vessels remained fully traditional until mid-1970s, when the first engine was installed. The last traditional golekan was built in 1983. [7] Golekans reaching Singapore in 1950s has a length of 50-55 ft (15.24-16.8 m) with 12.5-13 ft (3.81-3.96 m) beam, waterline length of 41-45 ft (12.5-13.7 m). A golekan with 52 ft (15.85 m) waterline could carry 500-550 pikul (31.2-34.4 ton). They are slow, seldom exceed 8.5 knots (15.7 km/h). [8]


Golekan in Sambas river, West Borneo. COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Een zeilschip en een roeiboot op de Sambas-rivier in West-Borneo TMnr 10010704.jpg
Golekan in Sambas river, West Borneo.

In the past, golekan is used as transport vessel, reaching as far as Singapore. In the early 1950s golekan from Sepulu were sailing to Singapore with mixed cargoes of palm sugar, coffee, tamarind, dried fish, and mats, along with considerable numbers of passengers from the island of Bawean. [9] Madurese skippers would buy cattle from local market and sell them for handsome profit in Pontianak, Manggar, or Pangkal Pinang. The vessels would make 6 voyages a year, during dry season only. Largest golekan could carry up to 40 animals, tethered on a platform inside the long deckhouse. Large amounts of fodder and water needed to be carried to nourish them for the voyage. [10] Since 1980s increasing amount of timber were brought to Telaga Biru. in 1990s this timber trade bloomed, trucks from East Java and even Bali regularly making their way to Telaga Biru to obtain the high quality timber being landed there. [11]

The main role for small golekan (about 20 tons in weight) is for transporting fishes from perahu mayang that remains at the sea. They had a row of boiling pots for sterilizing fishes just like lis-alis. In Bangkalan, the reason why they had 2 different type of boat is that the golekan is heavier and slower than lis-alis but they are more useful in open sea compared to lis-alis. Golekan is associated with man while lis-alis is associated with woman, and every village must have several from each kind to survive in every season, golekan is the one used when western season wind arrived. [12]

See also

Other Madurese boats:

Other perahu from Nusantara:

Related Research Articles

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Mayang (boat)

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Leti leti

Leti leti is a type of traditional transport vessel from East Madura, Indonesia, especially from the administrative district of Sumenep. The leti leti is a recent development, the hull form and sail were developed in the 19th century. In 1979 sailing leti leti was numbered about 1000, but this was reduced in the next decades when more modern, motorized vessel appeared.

Lis-alis Type of traditional vessel from Madura

Lis-alis is a type of traditional boat of Madura, Indonesia. Lis-alis usually present in canals that provide salt evaporation service in southern part of Madura and around Surabaya. Until the present, lis-alis remained overwhelmingly popular as a fishing craft in Bangkalan and Sukolilo, while a larger version, the kroman, has been used in this area for at least a century for inshore transport work.


Janggolan refers to two different type of perahu from Indonesia. One is from Madura, and the other from Bali. The Madurese janggolan is a type of indigenously constructed boat, meanwhile Balinese janggolan is an indigenous boat with western-styled hull construction.

Palari (boat)

Palari is a type of Indonesian sailing vessel from South Sulawesi. It was mainly used by the people of Ara and Lemo Lemo, for transporting goods and people. This vessel is rigged with pinisi rig, which often makes it better known as "Pinisi" instead of its name. In Singapore, palari is known as "Makassartrader".

Pajala (boat)

Pajala is a type of traditional perahu from western South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is used mainly for fishing, but in the present it's a Bugis/Makassar name for small to medium-sized boat hull.

Bago (boat)

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Paduwang is a traditional double-outrigger vessel from Madura, Indonesia. It is built with planks instead of single log, and used for fishing, trading and transport of people and goods near Madura island. In the 19th century, Paduwang was a popular fishing craft in East Java.

Sampan panjang

Sampan panjang was a type of Malay fast boat from the 19th century. It was used especially by the sampan-men, or "Orang Laut". Historically, they can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. This type of boat was used by Malay people as racing boat and as transport boat. The sampan panjang appeared at the first quarter of the 19th century, and disappeared at the turn of that century. These boats proved to be superior than European boats in racing purposes; they were easy winners when racing against the European yachts of that time.

Bagan (fishing)

Bagan or bagang is a fishing instrument that uses nets and lights so that it can be used for light fishing, originating from Indonesia. Bagan is floated out to the sea to catch fishes, squids, and shrimps, and remain in the sea for several days or even months. The catch would be transported to land using other boats.

Perahu payang

Perahu payang or simply payang is a traditional Malay open fishing boat. They are usually found in Terengganu, and to a lesser extent, Kelantan, Pahang, and Johor coasts. A few examples normally come down to Singapore to operate during the period of the north-east monsoon in the South China Sea.


  1. 1 2 Horridge. (1981). p. 79.
  2. Rouffaer, G.P. De voornaamste industrieen der inlandsche bevolking van java en Madoera. S'Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff.
  3. Gibson-Hill, C.A. (1950). "The Indonesian trading boats reaching Singapore". Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 25 (1): 108–138.
  4. 1 2 Stenross. (2007). p. 275.
  5. 1 2 Stenross. (2007). p. 85.
  6. Stenross. (2007). p. 88.
  7. Stenross. (2007). p. 94.
  8. Gibson-Hill, C.A. (February 1950). "The Indonesian Trading Boats reaching Singapore". Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 23: 108–138 via JSTOR.
  9. Piollet, Paul (1995). Equipages et voiliers de Madura. Ternant.
  10. Stenross. (2007). p. 92.
  11. Stenross. (2007). p. 96.
  12. Horridge. (1981). p. 80.

Further reading