I have decided to settle this question once and for all. Many explanations of the difference between a ship and a boat focus on size or the ability to carry a boat on board. I find these explanations oversimplified. To solve this problem I propose that mariners use the same scoring method seen in some magazines to determine the answer to such questions as: Are you a romantic?
I propose the scoring system below. Take the quiz below and see if your vessel is rated correctly.
1. How do you get aboard the vessel?
a. Step carefully on the center line with both hand on the gunnel.
b. Step or jump across
c. A gangplank, stairs, or a ladder
d. The accommodation ladder.
2. How do you measure fuel?
a. Don't use fuel - low carbon foot print
b. read the gauge, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, full
c. By gallons
d. Convert cubic meters to tons using temperature and density corrections.
3. What's for lunch?
a. Energy bar.
b. A sandwich and drink from the cooler/thermos
c. It depends on who did the shopping.
d. I don't know, what's on the menu?
4. What do you if you are at sea and forecast is for storm warnings?
a. Head for home
b. Head for port, or look for a good lee
c. Secure for heavy weather and plan to stay hove to
d. Check your weather program or weather routing service for optimum route
5. What do you do when you want a shower?
a. Wait till I get home.
b. Rig a salt water shower on deck
c. Check how much water is left
d. Just take one.
6. What do you do when you find water in the bilge?
a. Bail with a used Styrofoam cup
b. Bail with an old coffee can
c. Turn on the bilge pump
d. Call the engine control room
7. How do you communicate with the crew on your vessel.
a. What crew?
c. Yelling and hand signals
d. Yelling, hand signals, UHF handheld, P.A. System, memos and crew meetings
8. What do you have for entertainment?
a. There's nothing like simply messing around in boats.
b. A pile of magazines
c. A TV and some DVDs
d. There's some video games in the lounge, a movie locker and a library.
9. How do you get underway?
a. Push off
b. Crew forward pushes the bow out, then jumps aboard
c. Hold the spring, come ahead easy, let the stern swing out.....
d. All hand fore and aft, ring up Stand by, make the tugs fast, single up, tell the pilot your ready to go.
10. Finally, what do you do if you run aground?
a. Get out and wade.
b. Push off with a paddle or boat hook
c. Check the tide table, try backing off, rig a kedge anchor
d. Notify your license insurance company and hire a lawyer.
Ok, time to score:
All a: Might be too small to be a boat.
Mostly a: It's a boat.
Mostly b Still a boat.
Mostly c: If its a ship it's a small one.
Mostly d: It's a ship.
All d: It's a big ship.
Ok, was your vessel correctly rated?
Next week, Are you and your vessel a good match?