Why are Boats Referred to as “She”?
Naming vessels these days is a fun task for any boater. Head to your local marina and you’ll see dozens of clever names emblazoned on hulls. They’re often puns or little jokes. Historically, ships often bore the names of females. Think of some famous ships from books such as The African Queen. The Arabella from Captain Blood. The Demeter from Dracula. The Henrietta from Around the World in 80 Days. And of course, even the pronouns used to describe a ship are female. We refer to a ship as she or her. But why did this tradition start?
There are competing explanations for why ships are referred to female. Some are a little more colorful than others.
The Nurturing Explanation
In the year 2019, the Scottish Maritime Museum changed how they refer to ships. They decided to be gender neutral going forward. From then on, they would only refer to a ship as “it.” The British Royal Navy responded by saying they will continue to refer to ships as “she.” Admiral Alan West of the British Royal Navy explains why he feels that’s inappropriate. West said that ships have been known as she for centuries. “They are, in a sense, like a sort of mother figure.” He went on to say they protect you, and that is why sailors view them as female. A ship, to many sailors, was like a woman. It made them feel safe. So a ship called a woman’s name made sense.
For futher detail: https://scayachting.com/blog-news/