The Difference Between a Ship and a Boat in Maritime Law

In a maritime context, and thus for the ordinary purposes of maritime law, the word “ship” is a general term used to describe any seagoing vessel. By “seagoing vessel” people usually mean any vessel that goes to sea. It is irrelevant for present purposes that a vessel is capable of going to sea if it does not in fact do so. In maritime history, the term “ship” has also been used to signify a particular type of vessel, namely one with a bowsprit and three masts, each with a lower, top and topgallant mast and square-rigged on all three masts. This particular meaning of the term “ship” is irrelevant for the purposes of modern maritime law.

By contrast, a boat is ordinary a small open craft without any decking. A boat is always concave shaped and is thereby distinguished from a raft. A boat has as its function the carriage of persons or goods on water. It does not include such motorised personal water craft as a jet ski or ski craft. A fishing vessel is commonly called a boat, though it may strictly be a ship. A submarine is also commonly referred to as a boat, though this results from an accident of history rather than from the technical characteristics of this type of vessel. please visit best trolling battery center

Australian shipping law, like its English counterpart, is not confined to ships in any strict or conventional sense. Australian shipping statutes have extended the scope of the term ship to include many other types of vessels and even certain floating structures which are not ships or vessels in any recognised sense of the word. Although each shipping statute usually contains a definition of a ship which is designed to meet its own particular needs, most of these definitions have common elements which are not obvious.

The three principal Commonwealth statutes relating to shipping are the Navigation Act 1912, the Shipping Registration Act 1981 and the Admiralty Act 1988. All contain a statutory definition of a ship which is in similar, though not identical terms. The statutes define a ship as any kind of vessel used or constructed for use in navigation by water, however propelled or moved. The other principal statute defines a ship as any vessel that is capable of navigating the high seas. Interestingly, rigs and barges are usually included in this definition because any structure that is able to float or be floated and is able to move or be moved as an entity. Hovercraft are also generally included because they can be used for navigation by water. Also, generally the definition of a ship includes all of the property on board a ship. This subtle distinction becomes important when considering a situation where a ship is financed separately from its engines and other equipment which might be on board.

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