A samman is primarily a freight and cargo vessel, and is mostly used to carry items in large volume. It is designed to carry heavy material such as stones, sand, salt, sugarcane, paddy for husking, and sacks of grain, all in bulk, and can carry more than 50 people at a time.
Samman are made sturdy by having their bases reinforced using several smaller panels of timber that are nailed together. The load-bearing ability of a samman is also increased by the curvature of its hull. Some versions have a detachable roof called a foog, made of bamboo and nipa palm.
Samman can also be used for deep-sea fishing and are propelled by sculling, using oars called alish. They are steered with a rudder known as a suaan, which has a handle that is held between the boatman’s legs. A three-person crew is generally needed to operate a samman. During weddings this boat is decorated and used to visit the bridegroom’s house. Sometimes people rent them to go to the city in a large group.