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Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are
vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), power to ...

vehicles
used in and on water, including
boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It m ...

boat
s,
ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional propertie ...

ship
s,
hovercraft A hovercraft, also known as an air-cushion vehicle or ACV, is an amphibious craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the ...

hovercraft
, and
submarine A submarine (or sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated ...

submarine
s. Watercraft usually have a propulsive capability (whether by
sail A sail is a tensile structure by Vladimir Shukhov (during construction), Nizhny Novgorod, 1895 in Kings Domain, Melbourne A tensile structure is a construction of elements carrying only tension (physics), tension and no compression (physical ...
,
oar An oar is an implement used for water-borne propulsion. Oars have a flat blade at one end. Rowers grasp the oar at the other end. The difference between oars and paddles is that oars are used exclusively for rowing. In rowing the oar is connect ...
,
paddle A paddle is a tool used for pushing against liquids, either as a form of marine propulsion, propulsion of a boat (paddling) or as an implement for mixing. Canoe and kayak paddles Materials and designs Paddles commonly used in canoes consist o ...

paddle
, or
engine An engine or motor is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), power to apply For ...

engine
) and hence are distinct from a simple device that merely
floats
floats
, such as a
log raft Timber rafting is a method of transporting felled tree trunks by tying them together to make raft '' A raft is any flat structure for support or transportation over water. It is usually of basic design, characterized by the absence of a H ...
.


Types

Most watercraft would be described as either a
ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional propertie ...

ship
or a
boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It m ...

boat
. However, there are numerous
craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted ap ...
which many people would consider neither a ship nor a boat, such as:
surfboard A surfboard is a narrow plank used in surfing. Surfboards are relatively light, but are strong enough to support an individual standing on them while riding an ocean wave. They were invented in ancient Hawaii, where they were known as ''papa he'e ...

surfboard
s (when used as a paddle board),
underwater robots
underwater robots
,
seaplane A seaplane is a powered fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing of Ryanair makes a smoky landing at Bristol Airport (2016) lands on a moving trailer as part of an airshow. File:F-18 - A 3-wire landing.ogv, F-18 landin ...
s, and
torpedo A modern torpedo is an underwater ranged weapon launched above or below the water surface, self-propelled towards a target, and with an explosive warhead designed to detonate either on contact with or in proximity to the target. Historically, su ...

torpedo
es. Although ships are typically larger than boats, the distinction between those two categories is not one of size per se. *
Ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional propertie ...

Ship
s are typically large ocean-going vessels; whereas
boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It m ...

boat
s are smaller, and typically travel most often on inland or coastal waters. *A
rule of thumb ''Rule of thumb'' is an approximate method for doing something, based on practical experience rather than theory. This usage of the phrase can be traced back to the seventeenth century and has been associated with various trades where quantities we ...
says "a boat can fit on a ship, but a ship can't fit on a boat", and a ship ''usually'' has sufficient size to carry its own boats, such as
lifeboat Lifeboat may refer to: Rescue vessels * Lifeboat (shipboard), a small craft aboard a ship to allow for emergency escape * Lifeboat (rescue), a boat designed for sea rescues * Airborne lifeboat, an air-dropped boat used to save downed airmen Ar ...
s,
dinghies A dinghy is a type of small boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles used in water, including boats, ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's ocea ...

dinghies
, or runabouts. *Local
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
and regulation ''may'' define the exact size (or the number of masts) that distinguishes a ship from a boat. *Traditionally,
submarine A submarine (or sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated ...

submarine
s were called "boats", perhaps reflecting their cramped conditions: small size reduces the need for power, and thus the need to surface or snorkel for a supply of the air that running marine diesel engines requires; whereas, in contrast, nuclear-powered submarines' reactors supply power without consuming air, and such craft are large, much roomier, and classed as ships in some
navies A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense a ...

navies
. *A
merchant ship A merchant ship, merchant vessel, trading vessel, or merchantman is a watercraft that transports cargo or carries passengers for hire. This is in contrast to pleasure craft, which are used for personal recreation, and naval ships, which are use ...

merchant ship
is any floating craft that transports cargo for the purpose of earning revenue. In this context, a passenger ship's "cargo" is its passengers. The term "watercraft" (unlike such terms as
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift or by using the Lift (force), dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in ...

aircraft
or
spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ">ERS_2.html" ;"title="Earth observation satellite ERS 2">Earth obse ...

spacecraft
) is rarely used to describe any individual object: rather the term serves to unify the category that ranges from jet skis to
aircraft carrier An aircraft carrier is a that serves as a seagoing , equipped with a full-length and facilities for . Typically, it is the of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to worldwide without depending on . Carriers have evolved since their incepti ...
s. Such a vessel may be used in saltwater and freshwater; for pleasure, recreation, physical exercise,
commerce Commerce is the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Etymology The English-language word ''commerce'' has been derived from the Latin word ''commercium'', from ''com'' ("together") and ''merx'' ("merchandise"). History ...

commerce
,
transport Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and ...

transport
or
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
missions.


Usage

Usually the purposes behind watercraft designs and skills are for seafaring education or leisure activities,
fishing Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ...

fishing
and resource extraction, transportation of cargo or passengers, and for conducting
combat Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed (Hand-to-hand combat, not using weapons). Combat is sometim ...

combat
or salvage operations. In general, the purpose of a water vehicle identifies its utility with a
maritime industry File:CMA CGM Balzac.jpg, A container ship belonging to the French shipping line CMA CGM. Maritime transport (or ocean transport) and fluvial transport, or more generally waterborne transport, is the transport of people (passengers) or goods ( ...
sub-sector.


Design

The design from which a water vehicle is created usually seeks to achieve a balance between internal capacity (
tonnage Tonnage is a measure of the cargo-carrying capacity of a ship, and is commonly used to assess fees on commerce, commercial shipping. The term derives from the taxation paid on ''Tun (unit), tuns'' or casks of wine. In modern maritime usage, "to ...
), speed and
seaworthiness Seakeeping ability or seaworthiness is a measure of how well-suited a watercraft is to conditions when underway. A ship or boat which has good seakeeping ability is said to be very seaworthy and is able to operate effectively even in high sea state ...
. Tonnage is predominantly a consideration in transport operations, speed is important for
warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and ...
s, and safety is a primary consideration for less experienced or often smaller and less stable training and leisure vehicles. This is due to the great level of regulatory compliance required by the larger watercraft, which ensures very infrequent instances of foundering at sea through application of extensive
computer modeling Computer simulation is the process of mathematical modelling, performed on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform ...
and
ship model basin A ship model basin is a physical basin or tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat. Tank designs are a balance of heavy firepower, strong armor, and good battlefield ...
testing before
shipyard A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, ...

shipyard
construction begins.


Propulsion

Historically, water vehicles have been propelled by
people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field wh ...
with
poles The Poles,, ; singular masculine: ''Polak'', singular feminine: ''Polka'' or Polish people, are a nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the loc ...
,
paddle A paddle is a tool used for pushing against liquids, either as a form of marine propulsion, propulsion of a boat (paddling) or as an implement for mixing. Canoe and kayak paddles Materials and designs Paddles commonly used in canoes consist o ...

paddle
s, or
oar An oar is an implement used for water-borne propulsion. Oars have a flat blade at one end. Rowers grasp the oar at the other end. The difference between oars and paddles is that oars are used exclusively for rowing. In rowing the oar is connect ...
s, through manipulation of sails that propel by
wind Wind is the natural movement of air or other gases relative to a planet's surface. Wind occurs on a range of scales, from thunderstorm A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm or a lightning storm, is a storm characterized by th ...

wind
pressure and/or lift, and a variety of engineered machinery that create subsurface
thrust Thrust is a reaction Reaction may refer to a process or to a response to an action, event, or exposure: Physics and chemistry *Chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the IUPAC nomenclature for organic transforma ...

thrust
through the process of
internal combustion An internal combustion engine (ICE or IC engine) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combu ...

internal combustion
or electricity. The technological history of watercraft in European history can be divided by reference to
marine propulsion Marine propulsion is the mechanism or system used to generate to move a or across water. While s and s are still used on some smaller boats, most modern ships are propelled by mechanical systems consisting of an electric motor or engine turni ...
as simple paddle craft, oared
galleys A galley is a type of ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fish ...
from the 8th century BCE until the 15th century,
lateen A lateen (from French ''latine'', meaning "Latin") or latin-rig is a triangular set on a long mounted at an angle on the , and running in a direction. Dating back to navigation, the lateen became the favorite sail of the Age of European invas ...
sail during the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period The early modern period of modern history ...
from the early 15th century and into the early 17th century,
full-rigged ship A full-rigged ship or fully rigged ship is a sailing vessel A sailing ship is a sea-going vessel that uses sails mounted on Mast (sailing), masts to harness the power of wind and propel the vessel. There is a variety of sail plans that prop ...
s of the
Age of Sail Age or AGE may refer to: Time and its effects * Age, the amount of time something has been alive Alive may refer to: *Life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling a ...

Age of Sail
from the 16th to the mid 19th century, the Age of Steam reciprocating
marine steam engine A marine steam engine is a steam engine from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and ...
roughly between 1770 and 1914, the
steam turbine A steam turbine is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), power to apply Force, f ...
, later gas turbine, and
internal combustion engines An internal combustion engine (ICE or IC engine) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combu ...
using
diesel fuel Diesel fuel in general is any liquid fuel Liquid fuels are combustible or energy-generating molecules that can be harnessed to create mechanical energy In physical sciences Physical science is a branch of natural science that studies abi ...
,
petrol Gasoline () or petrol () (see the etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated word ...
and
LNG
LNG
as fuels from the turn of the 20th century, which have been supplemented to a degree by
nuclear marine propulsion Nuclear marine propulsion is propulsion of a ship or submarine with heat provided by a nuclear reactor. The power plant heats water to produce steam for a turbine used to turn the ship's propeller . A propeller is a device with a rotating hub an ...
since the 1950s in some naval watercraft. Current technological development seeks to identify cheaper, renewable and less polluting sources of propulsion for watercraft of all shapes and sizes.


Construction

Secondary applications of technology in watercraft have been those of used structural materials,
navigation aid A navigational aid (NAVAID), also known as aid to navigation (ATON), is any sort of signal, markers or guidance equipment which aids the traveler in , usually nautical or aviation travel. Common types of such aids include s, s, s, and s. Defini ...
s; and in the case of
warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and ...
s,
weapon system#REDIRECT Weapon System Legend for Numeric Designations CL: Lockheed D: Douglas NA: North American WS (Weapon System) Weapon System was a United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the Military, military forces of the U ...
s. The purpose of usage and the physical environment define the materials used in construction which had historically included grasses, leather, timbers, metals combined with timber or without,
silicate In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, ...
and plastic derivatives, and others.


Registration

Watercraft registration is the registration of a watercraft with a government authority. In the United States, it consists of an
alphanumeric Alphanumericals are a combination of alphabetical and numerical character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * ''Characters'' (Theophras ...
string called a vessel registration number that is issued by the state's
Department of Motor Vehicles In the , a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a that administers and . Similar departments exist in under different names. The name "DMV" is not used in every state or area, nor are the traditional DMV functions handled by a single agency ...
.


Navigation

Navigation aid A navigational aid (NAVAID), also known as aid to navigation (ATON), is any sort of signal, markers or guidance equipment which aids the traveler in , usually nautical or aviation travel. Common types of such aids include s, s, s, and s. Defini ...
s have varied over time: from astronomical observation, to mechanical mechanisms, and more recently analogue and digital computer devices that now rely on
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national ...

GPS
systems.


Weapons

Naval weapon systems have closely followed the development in land weapons, developing from: *
aircraft carrier An aircraft carrier is a that serves as a seagoing , equipped with a full-length and facilities for . Typically, it is the of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to worldwide without depending on . Carriers have evolved since their incepti ...
s *breech-loading rifled guns *direct enemy hull ramming to use of basic mechanical projectiles *firing shells *missiles and remotely piloted devices * naval mine layers and
minesweeper underway in British coastal waters during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast ma ...
*smooth-bore cannonball firing guns *
torpedo A modern torpedo is an underwater ranged weapon launched above or below the water surface, self-propelled towards a target, and with an explosive warhead designed to detonate either on contact with or in proximity to the target. Historically, su ...

torpedo
-armed
submarine A submarine (or sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated ...

submarine
s *warships armed with fire control directed weapons Until development of steam propulsion was coupled with rapid-firing breech-loading guns, naval combat was often concluded by a boarding combat between the opposing crews. Since the early 20th century, there has been a substantial development in technologies which allow force projection from a naval task force to a land objective using marine infantry.


See also

*
Canal Canals are waterways channels Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * ...

Canal
*
Ferry A ferry is a vessel used to carry passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo, across a body of water. A passenger ferry with many stops, such as in Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern It ...

Ferry
*
Glossary of nautical terms This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, while many date from the 17th to 19th centuries. See also Wiktionary's nautical terms, :Nautical terms, and Nautical metaphors in English. See the Further reading Further or Furthur may ...
* IMO numbers *
Lake freighter Lake freighters, or lakers, are bulk carrier vessels that ply the Great Lakes of North America. These vessels are traditionally called boats, although classified as ships. Since the late 19th century, lakers have carried bulk cargoes of materials ...
*
Maritime history Maritime history is the study of human interaction with and activity at sea. It covers a broad thematic element of history that often uses a global approach, although national and regional histories remain predominant. As an academic subject, it ...
*
Merchant vessel A merchant ship, merchant vessel, trading vessel, or merchantman is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical syst ...
*
Navigability A body of water ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe whose mainland territory comprises the ...
*
Roll-on/roll-off Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro) ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system w ...
*
Ship registration Ship registration is the process by which a ship is documented and given the nationality of the country to which the ship has been documented. The nationality allows a ship to travel internationally as it is proof of ownership of the vessel. Intern ...
*
Ship transport Maritime transport (or ocean transport) and hydrolyc effluvial transport, or more generally waterborne transport, is the transport Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard languag ...
*
Train ferry A train ferry is a ship (ferry) designed to carry Railroad car, railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with Track (rail transport), railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wha ...
*
Unmanned surface vehicle A passenger USV demonstration at Hampton, Virginia, USA in January 2009 Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs; also known as unmanned surface vessels (USVs) or (in some cases) autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs), or colloquially drone ships) are boats ...
*
Waterway A waterway is any navigable A body of water ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe whose ...

Waterway


References


External links


The Canadian Museum of Civilization - Native Watercraft in CanadaA History of Recreational Small WatercraftRecreational Watercraft
{{Authority control Water transport Naval architecture Ship registration