PRIDE Foundation Malaysia My Blog The Differences Between Boats and Ships

The Differences Between Boats and Ships


When we mention the words boat and ship, some people might get confused and think that they are the same. The fact is they are totally different in so many aspects. We understand that it might get confusing especially if you are not specialised in this post. Hence why today we will be learning about the differences between boats and ships. There is another question to be asked, have you heard of PSV vessel Malaysia? If you have not, there would be a simple definition for it too. Anyway, let’s get to our main business today, shall we? 

What is a Ship?

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A ship is a big watercraft or vessel that you see roaming on the oceans. Ships are commonly used to transport passengers and cargo and are often large in size. The size is one of the ways to differentiate between a ship and a boat. A ship can even carry a boat but it is not the other way round. Ferry cruise, container or cargo ships are among the examples of ships. They serve different purposes but most of the time, they are used to carry many types of goods. 

What is a Boat?

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A boat on the other hand is also a watercraft but it is smaller than a ship. Boats can vary in size and type, but they are often smaller than ships. The ones you see at lakes and rivers are one of the many types of boats. There are canoes, motorboats, rafts and many more that are actually in the category of boats. Most of the time they serve as transportation for passengers. 

The Main Differences Between a Boat and a Ship

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There are a few huge differences that can easily be spotted if you take a glance at these two watercraft. Even if you are not in the related field, you could instantly understand our topic today. They have quite huge differences and can be told easily when you take a look at them both. These are the differences that we have been talking about:

Size and Functions

This is the most obvious one, a ship and a boat can be differentiated easily when you look at them. As mentioned previously, ships tend to be a lot bigger than boats. Ships are used most of the time to carry a huge amount of passengers and cargo while boats are used to carry a small number of passengers. The huge ones you see on the oceans are ships and they might be cargo or container ships, carrying various kinds of goods and substances. Technically, ships are used for the business and shipping industry while boats too, but just for several types of boats.

Area of Operations

This is also another big difference between a ship and a boat. We are aware that ships can only be used on big oceans and seas while boats are smaller in size so they can also be used in the oceans but most of the time they are used in lakes and rivers. 


Ships are made to be very tough and durable because they are used in the oceans where many things could happen. Boats on the other hand are made from numerous materials. Canoes, rafts and motorboats are made of different materials and they are in the boat category. They don’t necessarily look the same as they vary in size and type. 

Now,  you have found out the differences, types and functions of ships and boats. There is more to explore in the marine services world, but if you are interested, you can do your own research.