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Some boats in a harbor in Miami Beach, Florida

A boat is a watercraft, usually smaller than most ships. 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 a screw, oars, paddles, a setting pole, a sail, paddlewheels or a water jet.

Parts of a boat

Ancient boat in an Egyptian tomb painting from about 1450 BCE

The roughly horizontal, but cambered structures spanning the hull of the boat are referred to as the "deck". In a ship there are often several, but a boat is unlikely to have more than one. The similar but usually lighter structure which spans a raised cabin is a coarch-roof. The "floor" of a cabin is properly known as the sole but is more likely to be called the floor. (A floor is properly, a structural member which ties a frame to the keelson and keel.) The underside of a deck is the deck head. The vertical surfaces dividing the internal space are "bulkheads". Some are important parts of the vessel's structure. The front of a boat is called the bow or prow. The rear of the boat is called the stern. The right side is starboard and the left side is port.

Types of boats

A boat carrying passengers to the islands off the coast of the Sai Kung Peninsula of Hong Kong
a ship's lifeboat, built of steel and rotting away in the wetlands of Folly Island, North Carolina
A sailboat (racing dinghy) and barge share the Mississippi River

Unusual types of boats

Unusual 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.

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. This dates from the early days of submarine warfare, when submarines were essentially motor torpedo boats which could submerge. In the modern combat environment where a typical attack submarine is the size of a destroyer and equipped with either a nuclear reactor or air independent propulsion which can allow it to stay submerged for months or weeks (and boomers are even larger, on the order of old-style battleships), this use is something of an anachronism.
  • A ship can be informally known as a boat, especially by its crew. This use is uncommon in the case of a warship.
  • In Great Lakes shipping, "boat" refers to any vessel, even one which would normally be considered a "ship" on the ocean.
  • In some versions of cockney rhyming slang, "boat" means face, from "boat race".
  • The term "gravy boat" is used to describe a small jug used to dispense meat gravy at the dining table. Similarly: "sauce boat".
  • A boat can also be one of the massive cars manufactured in America from the 1950s through the 1970s.
  • A boat, short for full-boat is another term for a full-house in the card game poker.

See also

External links