The moliceiros which we now see crossing the “Ria” were not always tourist boats. During the 19th century, they were used in seaweed harvesting. This seaweed consists of sludge accumulated in the bottom of the “Ria” which, after being laid down in threshing floors to dry, was used as a fertilizer in the sandy soils which belonged to farmers in the area. But as seaweed was progressively replaced by chemical fertilizers, this activity declined throughout the 20th century.
A few decades ago, the old Aveiro “Ria” shipyards were reactivated in order to revive the moliceiros as well as the old manual manufacturing techniques used to build these boats which then began to be used as tourist boats. Small and colourful, painted in the bow and the stern with traditional bright coloured drawings which represent historical facts or popular devotion, moliceiros sail through the “Ria”, showing the other side of the city of Aveiro.