A boat is something that is used on water, comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes, which can float. Typically, smaller boats will be seen on inland waterways, such as rivers and lakes. They can also be seen in coastal areas that are protected. There are some boats which were actually designed to be operated remotely on an offshore location, all the way from a ship that is in the ocean, like the Whaleboat. Another way to describe a boat is to say that, if it is a small vessel, and it can be carried by a larger vessel (a ship), then it is a boat. Also, if a vessel is small enough to be raised from the water, it is a boat.



There are three categories that boats fall under; they include:

  • Boats: Thee are the ones that do not have motors, instead, they are powered by ore’s or poles referred to as a punt. There are ‘blow-up floats’ used to drift downstream, and ‘rafts’ which are maneuvered with paddles or ore’s. Other boats that are manually controlled are ‘kayaks’, ‘gondolas’, and ‘canoes’, these are maneuvered with the use of poles referred to as a punt and/or paddles.


  • Sailboats: These have a category that consists of many different types. Basically, ‘sailboats’ are propelled by sails.


  • Motorboats: This type of boat is maneuvered by engines.


Boats have been used for transportation as far back as 3,000 BC. The oldest type of boat ever found by archaeologists were ‘dugouts’. Boats come in various sizes and shapes, having different methods of construction depending on their intended use.


  • Canoes: This type of boat has been used all throughout history. It has a variety of different versions which are being used all over the world for fishing, sports, and transportation.


  • Pleasure boats: These type of boats are mostly used when vacationing, or long-term housing. They include pontoon boats, housing boats, ski boats, and sailboats.


  • Fishing boats: These come in many different styles, usually to match the location it is going to be used in.


Whereas, lifeboats will have the proper functions for safety and rescues. The smaller boats are used in providing transportation, as well as convey cargo (carrying things back and forth to larger ships). Boats may be manually controlled by using ore’s, paddles, a rowing system (such as rowboats), wind-power (such as sailboats), boats can be propelled off of engines that use gasoline or diesel engines.


What distinguishes a boat from a ship will be mainly regarding its size, shape, and the amount of passengers and/or cargo it can hold. Of course, there are situations where size has nothing to do with it, such as the 1,000 ft. long (300 m) bulk freighters that can be seen on the Great Lakes, these are referred to as ‘ore-boats’. However, it is part of Naval traditions that submarines are referred to as a boat instead of a ship, no matter their size and shape.