Difference between Boat and Ship | Boat vs Ship

Confused about whether to call a vessel that sails on a sea a ‘boat’ or a ‘ship’? What makes a ‘boat’ different from a ‘ship’? How do you know whether it’s ‘ship’ or ‘boat’? These kinds of questions seem to bother students a lot. So to ensure that the next time you use these words, they are in the correct context, this article will walk you through how ‘boat’ and ‘ship’ differ.

There is no doubt that the English Language might give people of all ages a hard time since there are quite a few confusing words in this language. Some people use most words without knowing their meanings, which sometimes leads to incorrect language usage. So to make sure that students avoid using these common mistakes regarding words like ‘boat’ and ‘ship’, the following points will be discussed. Let’s have a look at them.

Table Summarising the Difference between Boat and Ship

Boat Ship
Meaning Boat is used to refer to a small/mid-sized vessel that is used to travel on waterways. Ships are very large vessels that generally travel on seas and oceans and transport people and goods.
Usage It is used as a Noun. It is used as a Noun.
Example We took a boat to reach our next destination. The Titanic was a very large ship.

Though both ‘boat’ and ‘ship’ are used as a means of transportation across waterways, they can’t be treated synonymously or interchangeably, as seen in the table above.

The Difference between Boat and Ship – Meanings

If you see the images of ‘boat’ and ‘ship’, you can easily understand the difference between them. The ‘boat’ is a small/mid-sized vessel that travels small distances through waterways. ‘Boats’ generally travel in small restricted waterways like rivers, lakes, coasts, etc., to transport goods, people, or fish. ‘Boats’ use simple techniques and equipment for navigation. Depending on the size/structure of the boat, one or more people operate it, whereas a ‘ship’ is a reasonably large vessel that travels across large waterways like oceans and seas to transport goods, cargo and people. Many navigators are present in the ‘ship’ collectively known as the crew, and a captain heads them. The navigation equipment and techniques are far more complicated than a ‘boat’. These are some essential differences between ‘boat’ and ‘ship’. Let’s take a look at the examples.

Examples of Boat and Ship

Let us consider the given examples of ‘boat’ and ‘ship’ to understand the concept clearly:

Boat – Gondolas are a type of flat bottomed boat that is found in the Venetian canals. (noun)

Ship – The unsinkable ship sank after it hit an iceberg. (noun)

As soon as the students grasp the difference between the words ‘boat’ and ‘ship’, it becomes easier to understand.

Boat and Ship – Conclusion

So, ‘boat’ and ‘ship’ are both vessels that travel on waterways, but these words can’t be used interchangeably or synonymously. Once students get this concept, it becomes easier for them to understand and use the terms correctly in sentences. Also, BYJU’S provides articles on many such ‘Differences Between Two Words’ that students often get confused with.


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