Copyright 2004 by M. Uli Kusterer Fri, 29 Nov -1901 11:06:32 GMT Comments on article blog-ship-boat-whatever at blog-ship-boat-whatever Comments witness_dot_of_dot_teachtext_at_gmx_dot_net (M. Uli Kusterer) witness_dot_of_dot_teachtext_at_gmx_dot_net (M. Uli Kusterer) en-us Comment 6 by Ray Murphy Is it a ship or a boat ... the difference is a question of size ... a little one like yours is a boat ... a big one like mine is a ship
Comment 5 by Anonymous A ship can carry a boat, however a boat cannot carry a ship. There are two exceptions:

Submarines are boats because they traditionally were carried aboard ships.
In the Great Lakes the Ore Ships are not actually ships, but are "Ore Boats" because they are restricted to inland waterways.
Comment 4 by Aaron Ballman Aaron Ballman writes:
I learned something interesting today from my dad -- according to the US military (the Navy, to be exact), any vehicle traveling on the top of the water is a ship. If it's underwater, it's a boat.
Comment 3 by
When in doubt, consider "vessel". ;-)
Comment 2 by Ben My native-speaker instinct, which I just confirmed with OS X's dictionary, is that a ship is larger than a boat and used on oceans. OS X's dictionary says: "A vessel larger than a boat for transporting people or goods by sea."
Comment 1 by Aaron Ballman Aaron Ballman writes:
English *sucks* -- I should know, I speak it. ;-) It has subtle distinctions depending upon region, so what might pass for a word or phrase in one place won't have much meaning in another place. For example:

Around here in Minnesota, people say "piece of cake" to mean something was easy to

In Texas, people look at you funny.. it's called "piece of pie" there.

Then in Florida, you hear people say "can of corn."

So! On to your original question. Where I'm from, you use a boat to cross small bodies of water, and a ship to cross large bodies of water.