Researching into the history of the clyde puffer revealed a lot about how the connections made across islands can change. The boat was originally used for work in canals and was adapted for work at sea. There was a combination of features of the boat that made it incredible useful for the time and state of the network of islands.
On board crane
An on board crane allows the boat to load and unload from any safe location. Allowing harbours to be developed in new locations.
Since the boat was small enough to work in the canals it allowed resources to be delivered further into Glasgow, making the boat more useful.
The boats stability allowed it to venture out to more distant islands including Islay where several distilleries transported whisky to glasgow.
Captains of puffers would record there trips in log books. A note was taken of difficult berths, dangerous waters or safe locations to land. Over time this would build up a stronger network of connections with more resources being transported.
As the technology and needs changed the clyde puffer was left behind. Harbours developed enough to support larger "ro-ro" (roll on roll off) ferries that could take lorries and machinery with them. It was more cost effective to transport resources this way.