Light positively shimmers on these boats moored close to a floating platform. Turner's choice of a vertical rather than landscape format enhances the elegant proportions of the boats, masts and rigging. His delicate description of the rigging complements the broader bands of light and shadow on the raised and furled sails. He conveys the distinctive character of each vessel rather like a small family group. They are offset against the distant view of the harbour town with Dover castle seen on the hill beyond.