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Why Is A Ship Referred To As A “She”?

Have you ever wondered why is a ship referred to as a “She”?

Word has it that dating as far back as 500 BC, the ancient mariners were mostly “married to the sea” because of their love for the ocean.  The ships were their livelihood, their home and their love thus as a reference and compliment to the women they loved, they refer to their ships as a “she”.

Another plausible presumption is that ships are called “she” because they are customarily given female names, usually the name of an important woman who is very dear to the ship’s owner, such as his wife or mother.

It was also deduced that all ships were once dedicated to goddesses and later also to mortal women of national or historic significance, therefore conferring a benevolent feminine spirit on the ships that would safely bring the seafarers across the stormy seas.

There are also some interesting, tongue-in-cheek reasons why a ship is a “she”:

  • She has a waist and it takes a lot of paint to keep her looking good
  • It takes an experienced man to handle her correctly
  • If you fail to tie her fast you will almost lost her for sure
  • A ship needs a good strong arm to keep her straight and to guide her
  • Everyone keeps a ship clean, neat and pretty and maintains her in good shape
  • It’s not the initial expense that breaks you, it’s the upkeep of the ship
  • A ship may represent a mother taking care of a human inside a womb until she safely delivers at the destination.

So there are many explanations as to why a ship is a “she”, which one do you think makes more sense or which one do you like the most?