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Old 02-10-2012, 04:50   #1
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When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

Title says it all, When is a boat a boat? When is it a ship? Can't be size, submarines are boats, yet they are big. By the way, the distinction is in most languages, i speak several and ships are ships and boats are boats. Ask some one, by pointing to a boat (ship), and people will invariably give the same answer, yet they are unable to tell you why they have called it a boat (ship).

The only concrete reason I've ever heard, is that ships have smokestacks and boats do not.

Anybody have any other ideas?


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Old 02-10-2012, 05:11   #2
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

There are numerous definitions* & differentiations between boats and ships; but there's no absolutely right/definitive answer, because there are always exceptions.

* ie:

A SAILING ship is a square-rigged craft with at least three masts; and a boat isn't.

Ships carry boats, and boats have to be small enough to be carried by ships.

A ship rolls/leans outboard in a turn, while a boat rolls inboard.

The term boat refers to a non-commissioned waterborne vessel that is not designated as a service craft.

See also:

When does a boat become a ship?

Is it a Boat or a Yacht?
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:16   #3
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http://www.diffen.com/difference/Boat_vs_Ship

They way my old Navy Grandfather explained it to me as a kid was that boats can go on a ship.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:42   #4
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

Interesting Gordo. It seems the question has been around for a while and is not able to be answered with complete certainty.

But there must be something, since people (even landlubbers) will almost invariably answer the same. That's boat, that's ship.

I hadn't heard the one about 2 decks or a boat leaning inwards and a ship leaning outwards.

Apparently I'm the only one who ever heard of a ship has a smokestack whereas a boat doesn't

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Old 02-10-2012, 06:11   #5
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

Interesting! There is a case that was scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court yesterday questioning (from WSJ 2 Oct 12) "When does a houseboat count as a boat?" Its decision can trigger application of federal maritime law. The case came up during a controversy where the city of Rivera Beach invoked maritime US maritime law and had a two story floating home "arrested" by a US marshal and towed away from a city owned marina in 2009.

This was done because the owner refused to bring his home into compliance with marina safety requirements. The city took ownership and had it destroyed.
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:23   #6
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

There are some boats with smokestacks. Notably around here, all the tugs. But there are some in the "pleasure craft" category, too, a la Nordic Tug (although I think their stacks are often of the faux variety).

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Old 02-10-2012, 06:25   #7
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

I don't think there has to be a clear difference - hence I see no problem!

But I like the boats can fit onto a ship definition (and not vice verce), even though not 100% true in every circumstance.
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:46   #8
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

It's just semantics. Call it what you want. There is no official, universally-accepted definition, so each person gets to apply their own definition.

Yes, of course when you are comparing the QE2 and a Catalina 22 you will get unanimous agreement that the former is a ship and the latter is a boat. But get into the middle ground--very large tugs, small cargo vessels--and some will call it a ship while others will call it a boat. No one is "right." No one is "wrong."

It's like the endless debate about what qualifies a boat to be called "bluewater". Call it whatever you want, in the end it's what you want it to be, and what you or anyone else calls it really doesn't matter.
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:00   #9
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

Boats are the things that get you home after the ship sinks.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:45   #10
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

I like the, "A Ship has a tender", definition. If you need to launch a dinghy to go to shore, it is a ship.. If you just beach it, it is a boat.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:12   #11
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

Well i have a 7 foot keel, no way i'm gonna beach that baby. Must mean I have ship not a boat
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:38   #12
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

When in doubt, as a non-English speaker, I usually check my New Shorter Oxford dictionary:

boat: 1 A small open vessel propelled by oars, engine, or sail. Also (coloq., esp. among submariners), a submarine. OE. b Any small or distinctive kind of vessel, esp. a fishing-vessel, mail packet, ferry, or small steamer. Also (chiefly US) a large seagoing vessel.

ship: 1 A large seagoing vessel propelled by sail or engine (cf. BOAT n.); spec. a sailing vessel with a bowsprit and three, four or five square-rigged masts.

so I checked vessel, and guess what:

vessel: A ship or boat, now usu. one of larger size; a craft

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Old 09-10-2012, 12:49   #13
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

Kimball Livingston: A boat can be carried on a ship.
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Old 09-10-2012, 13:06   #14
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
A SAILING ship is a square-rigged craft with at least three masts; and a boat isn't.
So a fore-and-aft rigged schooner is not a ship? Even this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_W._Lawson_(ship) ?

Two masted brigs are not ships? See: Brig - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This definition is not convincing.

I like to think of my boat as a little ship -- her dimensions are similar to those of Christopher Columbus' favorite ship, the Nina. She's faster, too I would be embarassed to say it to anyone, but it pleases me to think it

To be serious (for a change), I think that there is no very hard and objective definition. For me a ship is a larger vessel, probably big enough to have two masthead lights, used for commercial or military purposes. If it's used for pleasure, it's hard to call it a ship (except in your fantasies ). Even Abramovich's monsters, ships and big ones for all intents and purposes, are yachts, I guess, and not ships.
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Old 09-10-2012, 15:11   #15
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Re: When Is A Boat A Boat, And When Does It Become A Ship?

A matter of perception. If the waves are higher than the mast, or the windspeed in kts is higher than your age, your ship starts to feel like a boat. If someone is figuring out how much to stiff you with a bill or a fine, your boat looks more like a ship, to them.
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