Shipping did occur in the Book of Mormon. The questions modelers should be asking are:

  1. Is there a natural harbor along the West Sea where Lehi docked his ship?
  2. Are there natural harbors in the Jaredite Land Northward where the Jaredites and Mulekites landed?
  3. Is there a natural harbor along the West Sea by the Narrow Neck where Hagoth built and docked his “Extremely Large Ships“?
  4. Are there places “in” the Jaredite Land Northward where their ships docked, sent forth and returned full of timber?
  5. Are there adjacent lands outside of the Book of Mormon area where they sent for timber?
  6. Do those lands have harbors where the ships docked?
  7. Why was the River Sidon never used for shipping?
  8. Why was the East Sea never used for shipping?
  9. Why was the Sea South never used for shipping?
  10. Why was the Sea that Divides the Land never used for shipping?

Here are pertinent verses:

2 Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men [big enough to house at least 30 people, their supplies, and small animals].

23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land. (1 Nephi 18) [“at” means “docked”]

5 And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship on the borders of the land Bountiful by the land Desolation and launched it forth into the west sea by the narrow neck which led into the land northward.
6 And behold there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions and also many women and children and they took their course northward and thus ended the thirty and seventh year.
7 And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships and the first ship did also return and many more people did enter into it and they also took much provisions and set out again to the land northward [when it says they went to the “land northward,” this was not a land identifier; these people were never heard from again].
8 And it came to pass that they were never heard of more and we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea and it came to pass that one other ship also did sail forth and whither she did go we know not.
9 And it came to pass that in this year there were many people who went forth into the land northward. And thus ended the thirty and eighth year.  
10 And it came to pass in the *thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died also, and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land. (Alma 63)

10 And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward they did send forth much by the way of shipping.

14 But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work. (Helaman 3) [the shipping industry was extensive]

The shipping verses will eliminate 90% of the models but is easily accommodated by this one (see Logging).

For example:

  • Guatemala does not have a single natural harbor on its western border (CIA World Fact Book).
  • If your Narrow Neck is on the east side, then it would be impossible for them to “take a course northward.”
  • If the Sea that Divides the Land is west of the Narrow Neck, it’s too shallow.