When is a Boat a Ship


What's the difference between a watercraft and a ship?

David McCann, Finstown Scotland

  • A ship can carry a boat. A boat cannot carry a ship.

    Peter Brooke, By Kinmuck, Scotland

  • A ship is large enough to own ships dangling along its sides. However, ferries are often ships but today are often as big as cruise lines and carry lifeboats.

    David Hattams, Plaka, Vamos, Crete, Greece

  • Much like a lot of things it is regarding size. A ship can carry a boat but a boat cannot carry a ship.

    William Gosling, Niederkorn, Luxembourg

  • One response is that a ship can carry a ship, but a motorboat cannot carry a ship. Another is the fact that a ship's captain gets irritated if you relate to his vessel as a boat, but a boat's captain does not get annoyed if you make reference to their vessel as a ship.

    Brian Robinson, Brentwood, Essex

  • a motorboat is a ship when it's so huge that you could put a ship upon it! Royal Navy submarines tend to be, however, constantly termed ships.

    Chris Nutt, Cambridge, Cambs

  • There are two explanations provided with this, the foremost is "a watercraft is a craft which can be hoisted aboard a ship"; as very early submarines could.

    The other is "A vessel with just one deck is a boat, more than one - it really is a ship"; although huge contemporary subs (we imagine) do have more than one deck.

    Keith Pettitt, Crewe, Cheshire

  • Simplistically, a ship can hold a watercraft, but a watercraft cannot carry a ship. But you could debate this for a long time. I have done. To estimate a friend (and Ship Science graduate) that We have posed this question to in past times:

    "There's no right answer because there will always exclusions. The ship carrying a boat thing works slightly yet not for a fishing ship, for example. A ship is typically an ocean going vessel but it doesn't benefit submarines which are always boats. Or over 500t, always exclusions to that also! A sailing ship is the one with 3 or maybe more masts with yards crossing all of them - but i don't suppose that assists much!"

    Vicki Franks, Cambridge, UK

  • A ship can carry ships but a ship cannot carry boats. Please note, a submarine is often referred to as a boat.

    Clive Palmer, Yeovil, Somerset

  • You can easily place a watercraft on a ship you can't put a ship on a watercraft.

    J. Owens, London, UK

  • None associated with the forgegoing answers take into account the truth that a "skiff" (a tiny watercraft) is etymologically the same as "ship", and certainly will be hoisted aboard many larger vessels. The precise (and pedantic) definition of a ship is a vessel without any under three masts, which carry square-rigged sails. All the other vessels are separately defined. Almost all of the vessels we might nowadays designate as "ships" tend to be properly "engine Vessels". (My answer doesn't account fully for the naming of most vessels of Royal Navy "HMS", even though this is a comparatively contemporary convention; the RN always refer to "His/Her Majesty's Sloop So-and-so" and "His/Her Majesty's Frigate Such-and-such". The Royal yacht Britannia, today moored at Leith, is "HMY".)

    Paul Thompson, Perth, Scotland

  • Nothing at all to do with size .. its all related to purpose. The big event of a boat happens on its deck, the big event of a ship takes place inside!

    ian Buchan, Glasgow UK

  • I think, usually according to the British Royal Navy, that a ship floats in the water whilst a vessel is underwater, i.e a submarine. Therefore the movie Das Boot.

    William Peters, Vienna, Austria

  • Taken from Wisegeek.com "It's typical lore that a ship rolls outboard in a change while a boat rolls inboard. I don't believe whether one meets into another features almost anything to do with-it" There is a far more technical definition:...

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