What is the difference between a yacht, a ship, and a boat?
One naval recruit said that it is common lore that a ship rolls outward in a turn, while a boat rolls inward.
You can fit a boat inside a ship, but you cannot fit a ship inside a boat.
A ship is a commercial vessel such as a passenger ship, a freighter, or a tanker. A boat is smaller – could be a fishing boat, a dinghy, a sailboat, a row boat, a charteryacht tender, etc., and could actually be fairly large.
A ship is used for commercial purposes, whereas a yacht is used purely for recreational purposes, like yacht charter vacations. Size does not matter.
The distinction between a ship and a boat varies depending on regional definitions, but as a general rule, a boat can fit onto a ship, but a ship cannot fit onto a boat. A ship, in other words, is a very large ocean-going vessel, while a boat tends to be much smaller. Additionally, a ship usually is defined as having a displacement larger than 500 tons. During the age of sailing, a craft with three or more rigged masts was considered to be a ship, but this definition has been superseded, as different methods of power generation are used on modern ships.
Watercraft that we typically associate with the category of “ship” include cruiseships, container ships, aircraft carriers, destroyers, tall ships, and frigates. All of these ships are extremely large and are designed to endure potentially long ocean voyages. Traditionally, they required a very large crew of skilled sailors to manage them, although some ships, especially container ships, are growing increasingly easier to run with only a small crew. This is thanks to the development of sophisticated computer systems and improved mechanization, among other things. These ships are also capable of carrying a large volume of cargo, people, or a combination of both.
Typical examples of boats include powerboats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, umiaks, and tugboats. Boats tend to be easier to maneuver than ships, but they are not capable of carrying as much cargo. Boats are also not equipped for long voyage, and some boats will not fare well on the open ocean.
A ship requires a crew of people to run smoothly, while a boat can often be handled by one person, alone. The system of authority on board a ship is also very clear-cut, with crew members organized into ranks. When a boat is large enough to have a crew, the members of the crew often work together under the captain. Depending upon the size of the yacht and the amenities and lifestyle promoted aboard, private luxury yacht charter vessels can carry as few as 2 crewmembers to as many as 40, with crew members including captain, first mate, mate, chef, hostesses, masseuse, and others.
Ships also usually carry boats on board, in the form of life rafts and rescue boats. These boats are also sometimes used to transport people and supplies between the ship and the shore, since very large ships cannot fit into some harbors, due to their draft or inability to fit under a particular bridge. [Thanks, wisegeek!]
Taking a vacation by automobile doesn’t require any particular vocabulary skills. However, when you go on a private yacht charter, it is sometimes nice to know some of the terminology used when onboard.
SAMPLE NAUTICAL TERMS
BOW – The forward part of a boat
STERN – The back of the boat
BEAM – The greatest width of the boat
BUOY – An anchored float used for marking a position on the water or a hazard or a shoal and for mooring
CABIN (or “stateroom”) – A compartment (bedroom) for passengers or crew
CATAMARAN – A twin-hulled boat, sometimes referred to as a multihull, with hulls side-by-side. Can be sail or power, but is usually sail
CHART – A map for use by navigators
HELM (or “Navigation Station”) – The area from where the Captain steers the boat
CLEAT – A fitting to which lines are tied. They are usually in somewhat of a “figure 8 shape.” Cleats are located on the dock and on the boat. (They are often tripped over, if you don’t watch your step!)
COCKPIT – An opening in the deck from which the boat is handled. (Visualize a large sailboat – the “steering wheel” of the boat is located in the cockpit)
DINGHY (also known as a “tender”) – A small open boat
“T/T BOATNAME” – Means “Tender To…[boatname].” NOTE: Most yachts only have 1 tender. Those with more than 1 tender (aka, dinghy) often have “TTT’s….or tenders for/to their tenders”
FENDER (also known as a “bumper”) – A cushion, placed between boats, or between a boat and a pier, to prevent damage
GALLEY – The kitchen of a boat
SAILBOAT – A boat powered by wind through sails (with ancillary engine)
POWERBOAT – A boat powered by engine and fuel
STINKPOTTER – A powerboat enthusiast
HEAD – A marine toilet/bathroom
DAY HEAD – The bathroom that is used by all guests, usually in main area of the boat and not located within a stateroom
INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – Also known as “The ICW.” Bays, rivers, and canals along the coasts (such as the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts), connected so that vessels may travel without going into the sea. Evening charters in Florida often cruise along the ICW to see the holiday lights of the condos lining the waterway, for example
KNOT (relating to speed) – A measure of speed equal to one nautical mile (6076 feet) per hour
LOG – A record of courses or operation, kept by the captain/crew. (Charter guests often fill out an entry in a “guestbook” or “logbook” after a charter, as well, to describe their trip)
PLANING (“on a plane”) – As a boat evens out above the water when it is moving/underway, as opposed to still being partially underneath the water, as in before it starts moving
PORT – The left side of a boat looking forward. (Also refers to a docking location)
STARBOARD – The right side of a boat, looking forward
SCREW – A boat’s propeller. (A “twin screw” is a boat with 2 propellers.)
UNDERWAY – Vessel in motion (also known as “running”)
WAKE – Moving waves, track, or path that a boat leaves behind it, when moving across the water
YACHT – A boat used for pleasure
These are just a few of the many nautical phrases used by yachties.