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Old 07-11-2007, 12:52   #1
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When does a boat become a ship?

Probably the most misused words in nautical lingo has to be the useage of the words "boat" and "ship." For example, almost all the crew on BC Ferries call their ships, boats; I'm forever saying, they aren't boats, they're ships.

I'm trying to remember what I was taught in the Canadian Navy about this issue, and it seems to me (on shaky memory grounds here) that the difference between a boat and a ship had to do with number of continuous decks the vessel had. I seem to recall that two or more continuous decks - covering the entire ship -constituted a ship.

I see looking at definitions of a ship on the net, that any vessel that had three or more (?) square rigged masts was a ship, not a helpful definition for today.

The remaining definitions are basically a large boat is a ship; again not very helpful. Even my Oxford definition wasn't very helpful.

Any other Navy types here other than Canadian, were you provided a definition when you were or are active? Coast Guard definitions?
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:56   #2
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Boat = smaller

Ship = bigger

BC Ferry = sea bottom finder
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Old 07-11-2007, 13:16   #3
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You "ship out" when leaving port but you are on the "Boat" When you get off the boat in a hurry you "Abandon Ship" by maning the "Boats" We try to keep everything "Ship Shape" but no one can tell me what shape the shape of a ship is!
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Old 07-11-2007, 13:28   #4
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2 or more full length decks above the waterline = a ship. Thats why submarines are called boats regardless of how huge they are - only 1 deck above the waterline.
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Old 07-11-2007, 13:50   #5
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A boat becomes a ship, when it carries boats.
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Old 07-11-2007, 13:50   #6
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I figure if you want to call your boat a ship, just go ahead and do it.
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Old 07-11-2007, 13:52   #7
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Yachties doan need no estinkin definitions. In his writings Hal Roth always referred to his 35' sloop, Whisper, as "the ship." It may be a boat, but if it sails oceans, it's also a ship.
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Old 07-11-2007, 14:55   #8
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The best definition I've heard has to do with the direction a vessel heels in a turn. Boats heel to the inside of the turn while ships heel to the outside.

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Old 07-11-2007, 15:00   #9
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A "ship" must have at least three masts and all masts must be square rigged.
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Old 07-11-2007, 15:09   #10
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I was always told that a boat becomes a ship when it's capable of carrying it's own lifeboat (not tender or workboat). According to wikipedia what I was told was not quite right.

Ship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-11-2007, 15:22   #11
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Well, when I was a young 17 year old Navy sailor, my "sea daddy" told me that boats are carried on ships. Anything large enough to carry boats aboard is a ship and anything small enough to be carried aboard a ship is a boat.
The exception being a submarine which is always a boat and I think it is more tradition because they originally were pretty small and could be launched from ships. My sailboat is a boat and I prefer her to be called a boat even if she is a pleasure and could be considered a yacht or my ship.
I cringe when I hear large ships being referred to as boats especially by Navy sailors who really should know better.
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Old 07-11-2007, 15:54   #12
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On ships

When does a woman become a lady?
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Old 07-11-2007, 16:06   #13
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So would 12 foot RIB with an inflatable kayak in a bag on board be a ship?
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Old 07-11-2007, 16:24   #14
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So would 12 foot RIB with an inflatable kayak in a bag on board be a ship?
Would you trust it with your life?
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Old 07-11-2007, 16:39   #15
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A boat becomes a ship when you are typing up the classified ad.
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