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:
“A ships not a ship to me til she gets her teeth into green water.”
—John Rhodes Sturdy, Canadian screenwriter. Richard Rossen. Evans (Walter Sande)
“I do not know if you remember the tale of the girl who saves the ship under mutiny by sitting on the powder barrel with her lighted torch ... and all the time knowing that it is empty? This has seemed to me a charming image of the women of my time. There they were, keeping the world in order ... by sitting on the mystery of life, and knowing themselves that there was no mystery.”
—Isak Dinesen [Karen Blixen] (18851962)
“Every day brings a ship,
Every ship brings a word;
Well for those who have no fear,
Looking seaward well assured
That the word the vessel brings
Is the word they wish to hear.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)