Maltese Dghajsa named ‘Wilson Pickett’

  • Boat Name: Wilson Picket
  • Boat Use: Transport
  • Boat Type: Dghajsa
  • Build Date: 1960
  • Country of Origin: Malta
  • Area of Origin: Valetta
  • Boat Dimensions: Length 21 ft 0 in Width 5 ft 9 in



Grand Harbour, Valetta, consists of a number of long creeks of deep non-tidal water. Because of this and also because many visiting ships prefer to moor away from the quays (to save money) a ‘water-taxi’ was developed for carrying passengers and their small baggage across the creeks and to and from the ships.

This ‘water-taxi’ is the Dghajsa (pronounced dysa). It is usually propelled by one man standing, facing forward, and pushing on two oars. He stands to one side of the craft probably because by doing so he can provide a larger space for baggage, but most Dghajsas are now equipped with outboards.

The high stem and stern pieces seem to be mainly ornamental but they are certainly useful in handling the boat and in the boarding and disembarking of passengers. The decoration follows a strict pattern. The various symbols (eg. ‘The hands that defeat the evil eye’) vary from boat to boat and the name is frequently a popular heroine – ‘Queen Victoria’ – or hero, ‘Wilson Picket’


This craft was presented to the Association by the Government of Malta.

User Comments


I have a Maltese dghajsa for sale. contact me

World of Boats Admin

Hello Keith

Would you be able to send more information and any photos to me at please? Thank you

Nathan Abela,

there are many more traditional boats
I am Maltese

World of Boats Admin

Hi Nathan, please share your knowledge on traditional Maltese boats. We would love to hear what you have to say.

Paul Shave

I spent five years in malta as a boy (1957-61) so am delighted to see a dghajsa so close to home. Visiting in 2005, only a few were to be seen in Grand Harbour displayed for visitors. The artisan fishing boat the luzzu is still common and from a distance looks the same, eyes on the bow, but most are now GRP and powered by inboard gallons of diesel. Forty-odd years ago British Seagull outboards were ubiquitous. Like Maltese lace wooden boat building is a dying art. The residue of my holiday money went to the restoration of the last Gozo boat Sacra Famiglia at Mgarr, Gozo. I have a silver model of one in a glass case presented to my grandfather in 1923 when his military service there ended. I had a wonderful childhood in Malta and have many fond memories of the place and Maltese friends.