I've been asked by the crew to stop calling the Knorr a boat. It's a ship. "A ship can pick up a boat," they tell me. The Knorr is also the largest ship in her fleet. Respect, my friends.
In fact, one intrepid questioner asked about this exact distinction. Maybe she was trying to tell me something.
What's the difference between a boat and a ship? Jenny from Walla Walla Washington
According to The Straight Dope:
"Among sailing vessels, the distinction between ships and boats is that a ship is a square-rigged craft with at least three masts, and a boat isn't. With regard to motorized craft, a ship is a large vessel intended for oceangoing or at least deep-water transport, and a boat is anything else."
Basically, a ship can carry a boat, but a boat cannot carry a ship.
Or, if you prefer you analogies in LEGO form.
The Guardian asked its readers about the difference, and got a couple of great answers.
"One answer is that ... a ship's captain gets annoyed if you refer to his vessel as a boat, but a boat's captain does not get annoyed if you refer to his vessel as a ship.
Brian Robinson, Brentwood, Essex
I should also note that the Knorr has a small boat attached to it (correction, two small boats), which means she can definitely carry a boat. Thus, it's a ship. So, from now on, the R/V Knorr will take her proper place as a ship on this blog, and not a boat.
During this trip, I’ll be answering your questions about the science, this boat, and life onboard. Want to know how we search for plankton, why we’re here, or what the food is like? Just ask me! And if you’re wondering how I got here, check out the groups that made this adventure possible: Mind Open Media and COSEE NOW.
Previously in this series: