Standard Vessel Types Authority List

This is an attempt to standardize the vessel-type classifications used in the vessel data-base. There does not appear to be a generally-accepted classification system for heritage recording or for other purposes that accurately, and consistently, defines their function. This is an attempt to begin the standardization process for British Columbia vessels.

Vessel type Meaning
scow A generic non-powered undecked barge  for carying cargo.
barge A generic non-powered vessel with a deck for carrying cargo.
fishboat, general A generic term to be used for any fishing vessel when it is not known what type of fishing the vessel is fitted for.
fishboat, troller A fishboat designed for hunting fish with lures on muliple lines, much like sport fishing but on a large scale.
fishboat, seiner A fishboat designed for encirclng schools of fish with a net and puliing the net onto the vessel.
fishboat, gillnetter A fishboat designed to string a straight net across the current to ensnare fish by their gills. The net is usually carried on a drum on the bow or stern of the vessel.
fishboat, combination Soe fishing vessels are fitted for more than one type of fishing; for example trolling and crabbing. This term should be used when it is known that this is the case.
freighter A freight-carrying vessel that is used for carrying solid cargoes.
tanker A freight-carrying vessel that is used for carrying liquid cargoes.
ferry, railcar A vessel specially fitted with railway tracks for carrying railcars.
ferry, passenger A vessel dedicated to carrying passengers (can include the passenger's cars) only.
yacht, sail A pleasure vessel primarily rigged for wind-powered movement. The vessel may have an auxiliary engine.
yacht, power-cruiser A pleasure vessel primarily rigged for engine-powered propulsion. The vessel may have an auxiliary sail.
tug A generic term to describe a tug boat that cannot be described in more specialized terms.
tug, pusher A tug boat that uses its bow to steer and propel it’s tow.
tug, salvage A tug boat that specializes in recovering vessels at risk of sinking or recovering vessels that have grounded or are adrift, often in deep sea conditions.
bark A sailing vessel
schooner A fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel with two or more masts which has a main mast abaft the beam.
patrol vessel Any vessel operated to surveil conditions on the coast or marine traffic.
launch A small work boat used for carrying personnel, or moving small light weight waterborne tows.
barge, crane & derrick A non-powered vessel carries a permanent crane or derrick for erecting engineered work or heavy lifting.
landing craft A naval vessel that is fitted with a ramp that can be lowered on to a beach to allow cargo to be loaded and unloaded directly from the hold to the land. They can be fitted to carry personnel, vehicles or tanks.
lighter, naval A naval working vessel used to transfer dry cargo or liquids, usually in a harbour setting.
dredge A specialized work vessel that is used to extract or move bottom sediments.
scow, flat deck A non-powered decked barge (actually the same as 'barge') often not decked but visually hollow.
barge, fuel A non-powered vessel fitted with tanks to carry fuel liquids.
research vessel Any vessel dedicated to undertaking research and fitted with specialized spaces or equipment for that purpose.
submarine, naval (conventional) A submersible with conventional propulsion, operated by a navy.
submarine, research A submersible with conventional propulsion, operated by a commercial concern or research institution.
submarine, naval (nuclear) A submersible naval vessel with nuclear propulsion.
freighter, Victory-type A diesel or steam-powered series of wartime cargo vessels built to standard designs.
ferry, passenger/car A vessel in scheduled service dedicated to carrying passengers and their cars.
cruise ship A vessel with overnight accomodation carry passengers on a per-determined route for the purpose of tourism.
tour boat A passenger vessel which carries passengers on a scheduled route for the purposes of entertainment or tourism.
yacht A sail or powered vessel used for private tourism, recreation or racing.
fishpacker A vessel rigged to remove and transport seafood from primary harvesters or aquaculture sites to processng plants.
lighthouse tender Any vessel rigged to carry supplies to and from lighthouses. These vessels often also service buoys and unmanned lights that may require removal or transporting and placement.
brig A sailing vessel with two masts.
brigantine A sailing vessel with two masts.
barquentine A sailing vessel with two masts.
schooner, two-masted A sailing vessel, fore-and-aft rigged, with two masts.
schooner, three-masted A sailing vessel, fore-and-aft rigged, with three masts.
schooner, four-masted A sailing vessel, fore-and-aft rigged, with four masts.
schooner, five-masted A sailing vessel, fore-and-aft rigged, with five masts.
passenger vessel Any vessel designed to carry passengers on a scheduled or unscheduled basis between points.
tug, supply A vessel designed to push or pull other vessels as well as carrying freight and supplies.
mission boat Any vessel dedicated to supporting religious missionaries.
ship-rigged A sailing vessel, with three masts, square-rigged on each one.
yacht, motor sailer A pleasure vessel that is rigged equally to operate under sail or engine power.
freighter, collier A freighter specifically designed to carry coal.
museum vessel Any vessel that has been preserved for heritage purposes but is still functional and afloat.
tug, naval A naval vessel.
drydock, floating A vessel designed to sink and be raised by pumps to lift vessels clear of the water for maintenance and repair.
houseboat A non-powered vessel carrying a dwelling or office, usually permanently moored.
float A flat non-powered vessel, usually permanently moored, with a surface close to water level, usually for accessing other vessels or for mooring other vessels.
float, fuel service A non-powered vessel, usually permanently moored, carrying fuel pumps for servicing vessels with fuel.
piledriver A vessel, usually non-powered, that carries a pile driver and crane for manipulating the piles.
freighter, ro-ro A cargo vessel that is fitted with a ramp that can be lowered on to a beach to allow cargo to be loaded and unloaded directly from the hold to the land. This is especially useful in areas where there are no wharves or port facilities.
crash boat A high speed vessel used to patrol waters for downed aircraft or crew rescue work.
whale catcher Any vessel used to track and kill whales.
lightship A vessel carrying appartus that functions as a floating lighthouse.
fishboat, halibut A specialized fishing vessel used to harvest halibut.
schooner, halibut A specialized fishing vessel used to harvest halibut - that may be sail powered or motorized.
cable layer A vessel rigged to carry, place or retrieve and repair undersea cables.
float, restaurant A vessel that has been rebuilt primarily as restaurant. In some instances the vessel is pulled ashore or dry-berthed.
frigate A small naval warship.
tug, ice-strengthened A tug with specialized reinforced hull designed to withstand ice.
snag boat A specialized vessel designed to retrieve or remove floating debris and snags that would otherwise pose a hazard to shipping. These often operate in harbours or navigable rivers.
drill ship A vessel with a drill rig built into the design for offshore drilling - usually for minerals or oil.
float, accomodation A specialized non-powered vessel with accomodation facilities that functions as a barracks, hotel, bunkhouse etc.
tug, anchor-handling A specialized vessel designed to move large anchors and related gear.
yacht, armed A pleasure yacht that has been acquired, by lease or sale, by a navy and armed for patrol or training purposes.
barge, self-dumping A specialized non-powered vessel designed to unload its cargo by dumping it into the water.
float, crane A specialized non-powered vessel designed to carry a crane, usually in a harbour setting.
icebreaker, light A light strengthened-hull vessel designed both to withstand ice and for breaking ice.
icebreaker, medium A medium strengthened-hull vessel designed both to withstand ice and for breaking ice.
icebreaker, heavy A heavy strengthened-hull vessel designed both to withstand ice and for breaking ice.
icebreaker A generic term for an icebreaker of undetermined class.
naval yard craft A small naval vessel used for a variety of utility purposes usually in a harbour setting.
tanker, Victory-type
freighter, bulk
freighter, vehicle
naval maintenance vessel A naval vessel.
training vessel
barge, pile driver
dredge, hopper
dredge, suction
fishboat, longliner
fishboat, trawler
gate vessel A naval vessel
destroyer A naval vessel.
cruiser A naval vessel.
frigate A naval vessel.
accomodation vessel A powered vessel that is semi-permanently moored for accomodation purposes.
fishboat, dragger
schooner, trading (northern) A small commercial vessel, usually built in the south and used in northern and Arctic waters for carrying trade goods and sometimes small groups of passengers (often on deck). Accomodation for the crew on board.
LCT-8 A class of large landing craft, originally designed for carrying large vehicles and tanks, with a large bow ramp for landing on beaches in settlements where no port facilities exist.
float, pump A non-powered vessel that is used to carry large pumps.
dredge, gold A vessel used in creeks, streams and rivers to dredge gold-bearing deposits.
examination vessel A customs, police, health, agriculture or other agency vessel, that stops shipping for inspection before allowing access to ports or territorial waters.
schooner, gas
scow, chip
scow, cargo
barge, chip
fireboat
barge, rail car
work boat
barge, covered
sloop, naval A naval vessel.
tug, yarding
tug, harbour
freighter, government
freighter, North Sands-type
harbour craft A naval vessel.
boom attendant essel A naval vessel.
loop-layer A specialized naval vessel used for laying electrical loops for degaussing vessels, or for harbour defences.
freighter, Canadian-type
tug, boom A small tug for moving logs and forming or breaking up log booms.
ice island Technically this is not a vessel, but a drifting ice island - usually with a semi-permanent research establishment on board.
bark, whaling A sailing vessel
schooner, trading A powered vessel, with one or two masts.
barge, self-propelled
ferry, reaction A non-powered ferry attached to a wire across a river. The current of the river reacts with he hull to create forward propulsion carrying passengers and vehicle cargo to he far side.
barge, fish packing
tug, river A shallow-draft tug suitable for river service.
buoy & light tender A specialized vessel designed to supply and service lighthouses, from the sea.
barge, anchor-handling
other non-commercial A collective term to encompass non-commercial vessels that do not conveniently fit into other categories.
barge, bulk
pilot boat A personnel ferry specialized for carrying pilots to and from vessels in transit. Usually they are capable of high speed to enable the timely transfer of pilots to and from vessels requiring a pilot.


To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2012) Standard Vessel Types Authority List. Nauticapedia.ca 2012. http://nauticapedia.ca/Articles/Dict_Vessels_types1.php

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