I hope you’re visiting Grammar Party today because you just bought a yacht (or a speed boat or a canoe or a spaceship) and you want to invite me on a trip. (I happen to be a pretty good time—and I rarely get seasick. Just an FYI.)
But . . . if you’re visiting to learn how to properly format ship and boat names, you can learn that here too.
First things first. Let’s learn the difference between a “boat” and a “ship.”
- A boat is a watercraft of any size. However, it usually means a smaller craft. So, you probably wouldn’t call a cruise ship a boat.
- A ship is a large watercraft. Think of a cruise ship or a big navy vessel.
How to format ship names:
According to The Chicago Manual of Style section 8.115, “Names of specific ships and other vessels are both capitalized and italicized.” Here are some examples:
- Lady Princess’s Floating Palace
- Stan’s Ocean Behemoth
- Ship Happens
- Divorce Paper Dinghy
How to format military ships:
If you are writing about a specific military ship that includes either HMS (British) or SS (United States) before the ship name, do not set these abbreviations in italics. However, put the rest of the name in italics. Here are examples:
- HMS Beagle
- HMS Bounty
- USS Enterprise
I hope this helps. And . . . let me know about that boat or ship ride.
7 thoughts on “Ahoy, Matey! Here’s How to Format Ship Names”
Thank you! Very helpful!
Thank you. Gregory Chandler
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Always good to be reminded!
Also, port is the lefthand side of the ship (because “port” and “left” both have four letters). Starboard is the righthand side (because . . . it’s not port).
do you know how I can find how to cartelized letters in cruise?
One comment not mentioned, you should NEVER use ‘the’ with HMS, but you do with USS. It is never, ever “the HMS Bounty”. HMS stands for Her (or His) Majesty’s Ship, and you would not say “the Her Majesty’s Ship”.
Jack served on the USS Constitution and Jim served on HMS Victory (no “the”).
Should a ship be referred to as “she” or “it?”