She’s Setting Sail
Ella Bateman, who lives at Tettenhall, Staffordshire, wrote to us commenting on the fact that the esteemed maritime publication Lloyd’s List, is no longer going to refer to ships in the traditional way as “she”, but “it”. However, the Royal Navy has said that it will continue the time- honoured tradition.
Ella tells us that this practice reminded her of the following cheeky verse:
Why is a ship called she?
A ship is called “she” because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about; she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her goodlooking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her top sides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.
A replica of James Cook’s ship Endeavour off the coast of Whitby, Yorkshire. But why are ships referred to as “she”? See below.