Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant watercraft. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing, entertainment, public safety, and warfare. Historically, a "ship" was a vessel with sails rigged in a specific manner.
Ships and boats have developed alongside mankind. In armed conflict and in daily life they have become an integral part of modern commercial and military systems. Fishing boats are used by millions of fishermen throughout the world. Military forces operate vessels for combat and to transport and support forces ashore. Commercial vessels, nearly 35,000 in number, carried 7.4 billion tons of cargo in 2007.
Ships were key in history's great explorations and scientific and technological development. Navigators such as Zheng He spread such inventions as the compass and gunpowder. Ships have been used for such purposes as colonization and the slave trade, and have served scientific, cultural, and humanitarian needs. After the 16th century, new crops that had come from and to the Americas via the European seafarers significantly contributed to the world's population growth. Maritime transport has shaped the world's economy into today's energy-intensive pattern.
Famous quotes containing the word ship:
“the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.”
—W.H. (Wystan Hugh)
“If the oarsmen of a fast-moving ship suddenly cease to row, the suspension of the driving force of the oars doesnt prevent the vessel from continuing to move on its course. And with a speech it is much the same. After he has finished reciting the document, the speaker will still be able to maintain the same tone without a break, borrowing its momentum and impulse from the passage he has just read out.”
—Marcus Tullius Cicero (10643 B.C)
“To place absolute trust on another human being is in itself a disaster, both ways, since each human being is a ship that must sail its own course, even if it go in company with another ship.”
—D.H. (David Herbert)