BOATS AND STREAMS PROBLEMS

Key Concepts

1. The direction along the stream in water is called downstream.

2. The direction against the stream in water is called upstream.

3. When the speed of a boat in still water is a miles/hr and the speed of the stream is b miles/hr, 

Speed downstream = (a + b) miles/hr

Speed upstream = (a - b) miles/hr

4. When the speed downstream is u miles/hr and the speed upstream stream is v miles/hr, 

5. Meaning :

Speed of boat in still water = Actual speed of the boat. 

Solved Problems

Problem 1 :

The speed of a boat in still water is 10 miles per hours. If it can travel 26 miles downstream and 14 miles upstream in the same time, find the speed of the current.

Solution :

Let x be the speed of the current

speed downstream = (10 + x) mph

speed upstream = (10 - x) mph

The formula to find the time :

We can use the above formula and find time downstream and time upstream as given below.

Given : It can travel 26 miles downstream and 14 miles upstream in the same time.

26(10 - x) = 14(10 + x)

260 - 26x = 140 + 14x

-40x = -120

x = 3

So, the speed of the current is 3 mph.

Problem 2 :

A man can row 18 km/hr in still water. It takes him thrice as long as to row up as to row down the river. Find the rate of current in km/hr.

Solution :

Let x be the rate of current.

speed downstream = 18 - x

Speed upstream = 18 + x

Let us assume that the man travels 100 kms.

Given : It takes him thrice as long as to row up as to row down the river.

time upstream = 3 time downstream

1(18 + x) = 3(18 - x)

18 + x = 54 - 3x

4x = 36

x = 9

So, the rate of current is 9 km/hr.

Problem 3 :

A boat takes 19 hours for traveling downstream from point A to point B and coming back to a point C midway between A and B. If the speed of the current is 4 kmph and the speed of the boat in still water is 14 kmph, what is the distance between A and B ?

Solution :

From the given information, we have

speed downstream = 14 + 4 = 18 kmhr

speed upstream = 14 - 4 = 10 km/hr

Let x be the distance between A and B.

Because C is the midpoint of A and B, the distance from B to C is  x/2.

The formula to find the time :

time = distance/speed

We can use the above formula and find time downstream and time upstream as given below.

It is clear that,

time downstream + time upstream = total time

Least common multiple of (18, 20) is 180.

x = 180

So, the distance between A and B is 180 km.

Problem 4 :

A boat covers 24 miles upstream and 36 miles downstream in 6 hours while it covers 36 miles upstream and 24 miles down stream in 6.5 hours. Find the speed of the stream.

Solution :

Let x and y be speed upstream and downstream respectively.

The formula to find the time :

time = distance/speed

We can use the above formula and find the following times.

Given : The boat covers 24 miles upstream and 36 miles downstream in 6 hours.

Given : The boat covers 36 miles upstream and 24 miles downstream in 6.5.

Adding (1) and (2), we get,

Subtracting (1) from (2), we get

Adding (3) and (4), we get

x = 8

Substitute x = 8 in (3).

y = 12

Speed of the stream is

= 2

So, the speed of the stream is 2 mph.

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