Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Vessel Definition:

Watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.

Related Terms: Ship, Vehicle, Maritime Law

The US Code, Title 1, Chapter 1, ¶3, defines a vessel as:

"...every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water."

Vessel and ship or even the more generic term of 'boat', are often used interchangeably.

Reference to relevant statutory definitions may be critical to any assessment as to legal rights where the issue is whether or not a floating thing is a vessel or ship.

The International Convention on Salvage 1989, at §1(b), defines vessel as:

"... any ship or craft, or any structure capable of navigation."

The International Collision Regulations 1972 - COLREGS define a vessel as:

"... every description of water craft, including non-displacement craft and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water."

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