Technically the word "Ship" refers to a sailing rig with three or more masts, where all the masts are square-rigged, as opposed to a cutter, barque, schooner, sloop etc. That is the only formal definition that I'm aware of.
|Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 1):|
No, there is no legal difference between a "ship" and a "boat" for purposes of maritime law. The legal term is "seagoing vessel".
Yep, the COLREGS don't care what you call it, just size, how it is powered and what kind of special work it might do...
|Quoting czbbflier (Reply 3):|
A boat is what you get into when the ship is sinking.
Another version of this is a boat is something you can hoist up on the deck of your ship...
The US Coast Guard defines anything smaller than 65' as a 'boat', and anything 65' or longer a "cutter", harking back to the rig of the original vessels that sailed for the Revenue Cutter Service. Which gets crazy when you consider that Coast Guard Cutter
EAGLE, America's tall ship
, is a barque
! If that doesn't hurt your head I don't know what would.