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Do you know the difference between a ship, boat, and a yacht? All yachts are boats, but not all boats are yachts. All boats and ships are water vessels, in the same way all toes and fingers are digits. Here’s a primer on boats and ships, and why you wouldn’t call a yacht a boat. When you’re ready to purchase your yacht to enjoy the Miami waterways, come to Foster’s Yacht Services.

Ships and Boats

Ships and boats are water vessels used for commercial, pleasure, or residential purposes. The main difference between the two is the size. A ship is 197-feet or more in length overall, a boat is under 197-feet LOA. Just for comparison, a football field is 300-feet long, so a ship is two-thirds of a football field or larger. The LOA only includes those parts of the hull that are integral to the vessel. Extending the length of the hull with a platform or railing does not change the LOA.

Boat or Yacht?

According to the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, a yacht is “any moderately large vessel or conveyance that floats on the water which is used for pleasure.” Typically, a yacht is not a commercial vessel, except what is known as a charter yacht. That is, a yacht with a professional crew that takes the yacht out on the water for pleasure cruises. Although there really isn’t a true measure of LOA when it comes to a yacht, generally, a yacht will be at least 30 feet long. Otherwise, it is usually classified as a please boat. Ships that have been built for pleasure can be classified as yachts, generally with the added term “mega” in megayachts or super yachts. This designator would be apropos for yachts more than 197 feet long. The key difference between a 30-foot boat and yacht is the elegance and expense. Yachts are designed for pleasure cruises, while boats are simply a conveyance on the water. Yacht owners may take offense when you call their vessel a boat, because a yacht is so much more luxurious than just a boat. If you drove a Corvette, and someone called it just a car, you might get upset too. Yachts can be powered by sail or motor. Many of the international races are for specially-designed sailing yachts, and some yachts are now hybrids. It’s not the type of propulsion that dictates whether a boat is a yacht or not. It’s the elegance and use of the vessel. Thus, all yachts are boats. Whether a boat is a yacht or not depends on what you do with it and how much you spent.

Check Out Your Options

Foster’s Yacht Services in Miami offers a full line of yachts for your enjoyment. Come and check out the selection at our marine service center in Fort Lauderdale and see all the options for your pleasure craft. We have repair and painting services to keep your yacht looking its best all year long. Enjoy the water in south Florida any time you want when you have a yacht at your service.


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