large buoyant watercraft
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Ships are large buoyant marine vessels. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing, entertainment, public safety, and warfare. Historically, a "ship" was a vessel with sails rigged in a specific manner. Ships and boats have developed alongside mankind. In armed conflict and in daily life they have become an integral part of modern commercial and military systems. Fishing boats are used by millions of fishermen throughout the world. Military forces operate vessels for combat and to transport and support forces ashore. Ships were key in history's great explorations and scientific and technological development. Navigators such as Zheng He spread such inventions as the compass and gunpowder. Ships have been used for such purposes as colonization and the slave trade, and have served scientific, cultural, and humanitarian needs. New crops that had come from the Americas via the European seafarers in the 16th century significantly contributed to the world's population growth.

She walks the waters like a thing of life,
And seems to dare the elements to strife. ~ Lord Byron


Sorted alphabetically by author or source
A great ship asks deep waters. ~ George Herbert
Whilst the ships sent forth by the Congress may and must fight for the principles of human rights and republican freedom, the ships themselves must be ruled and commanded at sea under a system of absolute despotism. ~ John Paul Jones
I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way. ~ John Paul Jones
It costs so much to keep one in paint and powder. ~ Chester W. Nimitz
A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for. ~ William Greenough Thayer Shedd
  • We came across from Korea
    We braved the wind and the rain
    We came a thousand miles just to be here
    And you want to send we back again
    We crossed Malaysian waters
    We sailed the South China Sea
    We stopped at Singapore and Jakarta
    And you want to send we back to sea
    Don't send we back, have mercy upon us
    We know you don't want us but we've got no one
    Don't send we back, we've run out of water
    We won't last the morning in the baking sun The Indonesian Islands
    We stopped at every one
    As for the Philippines we tried 'em
    And you want to turn our boat around.
  • She walks the waters like a thing of life,
    And seems to dare the elements to strife.
    • Lord Byron, The Corsair (1814), Canto I, Stanza 3.
  • She bears her down majestically near,
    Speed on her prow, and terror in her tier.
    • Lord Byron, The Corsair (1814), Canto III, Stanza 15.
  • I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a [large] ship to founder. . . . Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.
  • It is a national humiliation that we are now compelled to pay from twenty to thirty million dollars annually (exclusive of passage money which we should share with vessels of other nations) to foreigners for doing the work which should be done by American vessels American built, American owned, and American manned. This is a direct drain upon the resources of the country of just so much money; equal to casting it into the sea, so far as this nation is concerned.
    • Ulysses S. Grant, message to the Senate and House of Representatives (23 March 1870), as quoted in the Congressional Globe, vol. 42, p. 2,177.
  • It is cheering to see that the rats are still around—the ship is not sinking.
    • Eric Hoffer, "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: 'Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely'", The New York Times Magazine (April 25, 1971), p. 24.
  • Being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.
  • I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way.
    • John Paul Jones, letter to Le Ray de Chaumont (16 November 1778), as quoted in The Naval History of the United States (1890) by Willis John Abbot, p. 82.
  • Yet when all these reservations are made, there is no doubt that the development of the long-range armed sailing ship heralded a fundamental advance of Europe's place in the world. With these vessels, the naval powers of the West were in a position to control the oceanic trade routes and to overawe all societies vulnerable to the workings of sea power.
    • Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987), p. 26
  • And the wind plays on those great sonorous harps, the shrouds and masts of ships.
  • Build me straight, O worthy Master!
    Staunch and strong, a goodly vessel
    That shall laugh at all disaster,
    And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!
  • There's not a ship that sails the ocean,
    But every climate, every soil,
    Must bring its tribute, great or small,
    And help to build the wooden wall!
  • Like ships that have gone down at sea,
    When heaven was all tranquillity.
  • The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
    Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
    Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
    The winds were love-sick with them: the oars were silver,
    Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
    The water which they beat to follow faster,
    As amorous of their strokes.
  • Ships, dim discover'd, dropping from the clouds.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 703-04.
  • A strong nor'wester's blowing, Bill;
    Hark! don't ye hear it roar now?
    Lord help 'em, how I pities them
    Unhappy folks on shore, now.
    • Charles Dibden, Sailor's Consolation. Attributed to Pitt (song writer) and Hood.
  • For she is such a smart little craft,
    Such a neat little, sweet little craft—
    Such a bright little,
    Tight little,
    Slight little,
    Light little,
    Trim little, slim little craft!
  • The wooden wall alone should remain unconquered.
    • Herodotus, VII. 141. Relating the second reply of the Pythian Oracle to the Athenians. B.C. 480. Themistocles interpreted this to mean the ships. See Grote, History of Greece, quoted in Timbs, Curiosities of History. Nepos, Themistocles.
  • Ships that sailed for sunny isles,
    But never came to shore.
  • Morn on the waters, and purple and bright
    Bursts on the billows the flushing of light.
    O'er the glad waves, like a child of the sun,
    See the tall vessel goes gallantly on.
  • Lord, Thou hast made this world below the shadow of a dream.
    An', taught by time, I tak' it so—exceptin' always steam.
    From coupler-flange to spindle-guide I see thy Hand, O God—
    Predestination in the stride o' yon connectin'-rod.
  • The Liner she's a lady, an' she never looks nor 'eeds—
    The Man-o'-War's 'er 'usband an' 'e gives 'er all she needs;
    But, oh, the little cargo-boats, that sail the wet seas roun',
    They're just the same as you an' me, a'-plyin' up an' down.
  • Her plates are scarred by the sun, dear lass,
    And her ropes are taut with the dew,
    For we're booming down on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail.
    We're sagging south on the Long Trail, the trail that is always new.
  • Because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder.
    • Chester W. Nimitz, when asked why a ship is always referred to as "she", to Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy, Washington, D.C. (February 13, 1940); reported in Associated Press dispatch, The New York Times (February 15, 1940), p. 39.
  • They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters.
    • Psalms. CVII. 23.
  • And let our barks across the pathless flood
    Hold different courses.
    • Walter Scott, Kenilworth, Chapter XXIX. Introductory verses.
  • She comes majestic with her swelling sails,
    The gallant Ship: along her watery way,
    Homeward she drives before the favouring gales;
    Now flirting at their length the streamers play,
    And now they ripple with the ruffling breeze.
  • It would have been as though he [Pres. Johnson] were in a boat of stone with masts of steel, sails of lead, ropes of iron, the devil at the helm, the wrath of God for a breeze, and hell for his destination.
    • Emory A. Storrs, speech in Chicago (c. 1865–56), when President Johnson threatened to imitate Cromwell and force Congress with troops to adjourn. As reported in the Chicago Tribune.
  • And the stately ships go on
    To their haven under the hill.
  • Whoever you are, motion and reflection are especially for you,
    The divine ship sails the divine sea for you.
  • Speed on the ship;—But let her bear
    No merchandise of sin,
    No groaning cargo of despair
    Her roomy hold within;
    No Lethean drug for Eastern lands,
    Nor poison-draught for ours;
    But honest fruits of toiling hands
    And Nature's sun and showers.
  • If all the ships I have at sea
    Should come a-sailing home to me,
    Ah, well! the harbor would not hold
    So many ships as there would be
    If all my ships came home from sea.
  • One ship drives East, and one drives West,
    By the selfsame wind that blows;
    It's the set of the sails, and not the gales,
    Which determines the way it goes.
Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 223.
  • A salvage service which hardly exceeds ordinary towage is naturally remunerated on a very different scale from an heroic rescue from imminent destruction.
  • The impulsive desire to save human life when in peril is one of the most beneficial instincts of humanity, and is nowhere more salutary in its results than in bringing help to those who, exposed to destruction from the fury of winds and waves, would perish if left without assistance.
    • , Scaramanga v. Stamp (1880), L. R. 5 Com. PI. Div. 304.
  • I am sorry to see a decreasing tendency to aid vessels that are broken down.
    • Butt, J., "The Benlarig" (1888), L. R. 14 Pro. D. 6.
  • It is of great importance that the laws by which the contracts of so numerous and so useful a body of men as the sailors are supposed to be guided, should not be overturned.
    • Lord Kenyon, C.J., Cutter v. Powell (1795), 6 T. R. 320.

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