Ships are multi-room sea vessels that may be privately owned and traded. They are much bigger boats which include canoes, row boats and other small watercraft. Ships use special sailing commands. Boats use normal movement commands. Ships require special skills to board from water, but can be entered from a shore or dock with the ENTER (shipname) command. Ships can suffer damage during combat, and can be repaired and customized with the ship building skill.
Boats are MOUNTable items that allow players to move across water rooms without the swim skill.
When to use which type of watercraft
Boats often have limitations on sea travel. They are smaller craft, and very susceptible to ship-to-boat combat. It is often best to use boats on rivers, or to LOWER a boat from a ship to get to shore.
Ships cannot travel in shallow waters (some keel boats may not be able to either), and as such, it is useful to RAISE a boat onto the deck of a ship for shore excursions.