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09 July 2012

Types of ships

Ships are difficult to classify, mainly because there are so many criteria to base classification on. One classification is based on propulsion; with ships categorised as a sailing ship, a steamship, or a motorship. Sailing ships are propelled solely by means of sails. Steamships are propelled by steam engines. Motorships use internal combustion engines; they include ships propelled by a combination of sail and internal combustion.
Ships can also be classified by other criteria such as:
  • The number of hulls: monohull, catamaran, trimaran.
  • The shape, size, and function, giving categories such as dinghy, keelboat, and icebreaker.
  • The hull material: steel, aluminum, wood, fiberglass, and plastic.
  • The type of propulsion system used, giving human-propelled (e.g., historical triremes), mechanical, and sails.
  • The epoch in which the vessel was used, triremes of Ancient Greece, ships of the line of battle in the 18th century.
  • The geographic origin of the vessel; many vessels are associated with a particular region, such as the pinnace of Northern Europe, the gondolas of Venice, and the junks of China.
  • The manufacturer, series, or class.
Another way to categorize ships and boats is based on their use, as described by Paulet and Presles.[44] This system includes military ships, commercial vessels, fishing boats, pleasure craft and competitive boats. In this section, ships are classified using the first four of those categories, and adding a section for lake and river boats, and one for vessels which fall outside these categories.

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