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A boat, like a ship, is a buoyant vessel designed for the purpose of transporting people and possibly goods across water. A boat is usually smaller than a ship. Some boats are commonly carried by a ship or on land using trailers.

A boat consists of one or more buoyancy structures called hulls and some system of propulsion, such as, oars, paddles, a setting pole, a sail or a motor.

Indonesian transport on Seram, Maluku
Indonesian transport on Seram, Maluku
Tourist Boat in Greece
Tourist Boat in Greece


Unusual uses of the word "Boat"

  • Often in rowing as a racing-type competitive sport, "boat" means the crew and "shell" means the craft. So a university might refer to its first boat, meaning the rowers who make up their best team, rather than their best piece of equipment.
  • A submarine is generally referred to as a boat rather than a ship.
  • A ship can be informally known as a boat, especially by its crew. This use is uncommon in the case of a warship.
  • In Censored page, "boat" means face, from "boat race".

Unusual types of boats

Bathtub racing on a pond in Leipzig, Germany in 2003
Bathtub racing on a pond in Leipzig, Germany in 2003

Unsuitable floating vehicles have been used for sports purposes as well. For example, the Bathtub Boat is used in "bathtub races" in many cities, although it originated in Nanaimo, BC, Canada.


A specialized set of terms is used to designate directions relative to a boat or ship.

The bow is the foremost point on the ship: the point that is ahead when the vessel is underway. The stern is the rear. The adjectives fore/forward and aft mean towards the bow and stern, respectively.

The left and right sides of a ship, relative to a person facing forward, are termed port and starboard.

The side of the ship towards which the wind is blowing is referred to as the windward side and the side away from the wind is termed the leeward side.


External Links

  • The Rise and Fall of 15th Century Chinese Seapower
  • Boating Directory

See also

Wikimedia Commons has multimedia related to Boat .

Last updated: 02-02-2005 05:00:54
Last updated: 02-11-2005 17:47:38