Ship v's Boat
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Fri 29 Jan 2016 23:57
When is a Ship a Ship and when is a Boat a Boat
On our trip up the River Gordon there was an information card that took our interest.
The word ship is from the Old English scip, which was a generic name for sea-going vessels as opposed to boats.
Ships were originally personified as masculine and were not called ‘she’ until the early sixteenth century in England. The Russians, for example, still refer to their ships as ‘he’.
In strict maritime terms the word ship signifies a particular type of vessel, one with a bowsprit and three masts, each with topmast and topgallant mast, and square-rigged on all three masts. This rather narrow definition does not invalidate the generic use of the term to encompass all types of sea-going vessels.
Boat, from the Old English bat, is the generic name for small open craft without any decking, usually driven by oars or an outboard engine, and sometimes by a small lugsail on a short mast. Exceptions to this general rule are fishing boats, sometimes decked or half-decked and powered either by sail or by an inboard engine, and submarines, which are generally known as boats irrespective of size, which may reach thousands of tons. Other exceptions are torpedo boats and patrol boats. Yachts, ocean going or otherwise, should always be described as boats.
Boat is a word often used by people ashore when they mean a ship, and at one time mail steamers, for example, were referred to as packet boats regardless of their size and construction; railways used to run boat trains to meet specific ships.
ALL IN ALL GLAD THEY ARE NOW ‘SHE’