Sailboats and sailing ships have existed since ancient Egypt. They have served as work vessels for fishermen, war ships, and recreational craft. They have also been popular subjects for artists. After all, what could be more beautiful than crisp white sails against the blue backdrop of the ocean? Many such scenes have also been pictured on postage stamps, making them a popular topic for collectors. In 2023, the US Postal Service issued two new Sailboats stamps to cover the postcard rate. But are the craft on these stamps boats or ships?
For most of us, the words boat and ship are used interchangeably. However, for seasoned watermen, there is a big difference. A boat can refer to any watercraft, no matter the size or how it moves. A ship, on the other hand, is reserved for larger craft with multiple sails or engines. The captain of one particular ship (a craft known as The Knorr) explained it like this: "A ship can pick up a boat." (Think of the lifeboats kept aboard large cruise ships.)
That being the case, the watercraft on the 2023 US stamps are most definitely boats! Whether you charter a ride on one or simply watch them sail by from shore, sailboats always make a warm summer day more fun.