Famous Ships and Boats

A - C

( or go to Famous Ships and Boats   D - G  or  H - N  or  O - S  or  T - Z )

Looking for some particular ship?  Check out the Index of Terms, Names, and Descriptions.

For a complete listing of ships found on these pages, check out the List of Ships, alphabetically and chronologically.

For a ranking of the most famous of the ships found on these pages, check out the The 100 Most Famous Ships.


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Name and

Claim to Fame

Type of Vessel

Dates: (Origin .... Demise)


Achille Lauro

Alternate Image

Achille Lauro

(Originally named the Willem Ruys)

Hijacked in 1985 by 4 men representing the PLF; one passenger killed and thrown overboard

Dutch built cruise ship

(December 2, 1947 .... Sank in the Indian Ocean on December 2, 1994 due to fire)

On January 6, 1953, Willem Ruys collided in the Red Sea with MS Oranje, heading in the opposite direction.

SS Admiral

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Admiral, SS

Was the largest river cruise ship in the world, sailing the Mississippi from St. Louis; in 1979 converted to a land-based casino

American river steamboat (cruise ship)

(converted to diesel in 1974)

(1907 .... currently not in service; may be scrapped)

Started out as the side-wheeled steel hulled steamboat, the Albatross; became the Admiral in the 1940s.

MS UND Adriyatik

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Adriyatik, MS UND

Cargo ship that caught fire off the coast of Istria, Croatia and burned for 2 days

Turkish cargo ship

(June 29, 2001 .... Being repaired)

She was sailing from Istanbul to Trieste carrying 200 trucks, nine tons of dangerous material, and 100-200 tons of ship fuel. In spite of fears, there was no environmental damage.

Adventure Galley

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Adventure Galley

Captain Kidd's flag ship

English galley

(1695 .... Burnt and sunk at Saint Mary's Island, 1698)

Because she had become worm-eaten and leaky, Kidd ordered her to be burnt.

African Queen

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African Queen

Boat used in the 1951 movie The African Queen,an adventure set during World War I, starring Humprey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn

American steamboat

(1912 .... Refurbished to service as a tourist boat in Key Largo, Florida.)

From 1912 to 1968 she shuttled cargo and passengers across Lake Albert in Africa.

SS Albert M. Boe

Alternate Image

Albert M. Boe

Last Liberty ship built

American Liberty ship

(September 25, 1945 .... In 1964, converted to a fish cannery ship, renamed Star of Kodiak)

Though currently landlocked, she is still in use as the home of Trident Seafoods.

(see Alternate Image).



First U.S. Navy submarine

American submarine

(May 1, 1862 .... Sank in bad weather off Cape Hatteras April 2, 1863)

The first American submarine, called Turtle (1776), never served in the U.S. Navy.  The first commissioned U.S. submarine was the USS Holland (1862).

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas

Largest passenger ship ever constructed

Norwegian and American cruise ship

(November 20, 2010 .... Still in service)

She is actually about 50 millimeters longer than her sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas.

Alvin, DVS

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Alvin, DSV

First Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) able to dive to 4,500 meters (14,800 feet)

American research vessel, submersible

(June 5, 1964 .... Still in service)

She was lost October of 1968 when she accidentally sank in 1500 meters of water; was recovered in August of 1969 and refurbished.



Won the Royal Yacht Squadron's 53 mile regatta around the Isle of Wight, August 22, 1851

American 19th century racing yacht (schooner)

(May 3, 1851 .... In disrepair, her remains burned in Annapolis in 1945)

The international sailing trophy, America's Cup, is name after her.  During the Civil War, she served in the Union blockading squadron off Charleston, then after the war as a training ship at the Naval Academy.

American Queen

American Queen

Largest steamboat ever built, as of 2012

American river paddle steamboat, stern-wheeler

(1995 .... Still in operation on the Mississippi River)

In 2012 she participated for the first time in the Great Steamboat Race and came in second.

HMS Amethyst

Amethyst, HMS


Subject of the 1957 movie Yangtse Incident, an actual event in April of 1949 during the Chinese Civil War.In the movie, she played herself.

British modified Black Swan class sloop

(May 7, 1943 .... Scrapped January 19, 1957)

During World War II, she was deployed mostly on anti-submarine patrols and escort duties.


Ancon, SS

First ship to officially transit the Panama Canal on August, 15 1914.

(Sister ship Cristobal made the first unofficial transit on August 3, 1914)

American steamship

(1902 .... As the USS Ancon (ID-1467), she was decommissioned on July 25, 1919)

She was acquired by the US Navy from the US Army for troop transport just after the end of World War I.

SS Andrea Doria

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Andrea Doria, SS

Collided with the MS Stockholm in the Atlantic and sank; 52 people died

Italian luxury ocean liner

(January 14, 1953 .... July 25, 1956)

Of all Italy's ships at the time she was the largest, fastest and supposedly safest. She was the last major transatlantic passenger ship to sink.

Andrea Gail

Andrea Gail

Lost at sea off the coast of Massachusetts with six crew during "The Perfect Storm" of 1991

American fishing vessel

(1978 .... Lost at sea October 28, 1991)

The tragedy was the basis of the 1997 book and 2000 movie The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger



The ship on which Jason and the Argonauts are said to have sailed from Iolcos to retrieve the Golden Fleece

Legendary ancient Greek galley

(perhaps 14th century BC .... unknown)

Legend has it that the Argo was built by the shipwright Argus, and its crew were specially protected by the goddess Hera.



Famous for almost winning The Great Tea Race of 1866, an unofficial race between Fuzhou, China and London

English clipper ship

(1865 .... Went missing in early 1872)

On September 6, 1866, the Taeping docked twenty minutes ahead of Ariel

USS Arizona

Alternate Image

Arizona, USS


The sunken ship lies in Pearl Harbor with a memorial above it honoring the crew lost

American battleship

(October 17, 1916 .... Sunk during the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor attack)

The sunken ship continues to leak about a quart of oil per day into the harbor.

HMS Ark Royal

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Ark Royal, HMS

(originally named Ark Raleigh)

English flagship against the Spanish Armada

English galleon

(1587 .... Accidentally sunk in April of 1636; raised and broken up in 1638)

During the reign of James VI and I, she was renamed Anne Royal.

Several British aircraft carriers have been named Ark Royal.

RMS Atlantic

Atlantic, RMS

One of the deadliest civilian maritime disaster in history killing 535 people

English steam ocean liner with sails

(June 8, 1871 .... Ran onto rocks and sank off the coast of Nova Scotia April 1, 1873)

The greatest disaster for theWhite Star Line prior to the loss of Titanic 39 years later.

Australia II

Australia II

First winning challenge to the New York Yacht Club's132 year hold on the America's Cupduring the 1983 America's Cup Race

Australian racing yacht

(1982 .... On display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle)

The legality of her winged keel, which gave her advantage in maneuverability and heeling moment, was challenged by the NYYC but upheld.


Beagle, HMS

She carried Charles Darwin on his historic expedition beginning in 1831

English two-masted sloop, or brig-sloop

(May 11, 1820 .... Sold for scrap in 1870)

Robert FitzRoy was captain during the historic round-the-world trip.

In 1845 the Beagle was refitted as a static coastguard watch vessel.

Belle of Louisville

Belle of Louisville

(Originally named the Idlewild)

Oldest continually operating steamboat in the United States

American river paddle steamboat, stern-wheeler

(1914 .... Restored in 1964, still in use at Louisville, Kentucky)

She competes every year in the Kentucky Derby Festival event The Great Steamboat Race.


Alternate Image

Birkenhead, HMS

The protocol "women and children first" originated on this sinking ship.

British steam frigate

(December 20, 1845 .... Struck a hidden reef and sank February 26, 1852)

Only 193 of the 643 people on board survived. Over the years, numerous attempts have been made to salvage the gold thought on board.


Alternate Image


At the Battle of Denmark Straits, May, 1941, sunk the British battlecruiser HMS Hood.

German battleship

(August 24, 1940 .... Sunk by British forces May 27, 1941 in the North Atlantic)

Relentlessly pursued and sunk by the Royal Navy following Winston Churchill's order “Sink the Bismarck”.

Bluebird K7

Bluebird K7

Set 7 world water speed records between 1955-1964, reaching 276.3 mph (444.7 km/h)

British jet powered hydroplane

(Early 1955 .... Flipped and disintegrated at high speed on Coniston Water January 4, 1967, killing Donald Campbell)

Developed and piloted by Donald Campbell.


Alternate Image


Featured on the Canadian dime and once on a Canadian 50 cent postage stamp and appears on the Nova Scotia licence plate

Canadian fishing and racing schooner

(March 26, 1921 .... Struck a coral reef and abandoned off Haiti on January 28, 1946)

During its racing career Bluenose was never beaten and held the International Fisherman's Trophy for 18 consecutive years.

Bonhomme Richard

Bonhomme Richard, USS

Warship commanded by John Paul Jones

American frigate

(February 4, 1779 .... Sank in battle off the coast of Yorkshire September 25, 1779)

Defeated HMS Serapis in the Battle of Flamborough Head.


Bounty, HMS

Mutiny aboard ship, April 28, 1789, led by Fletcher Christian against Captain William Bligh

English three-mast collier

(1784 .... Was burned by the mutineers on January 23, 1790)

Its mission was to pick up breadfruit plants from Tahiti and transport them to the West Indies.

Bounty (replica)

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Bounty (replica)

A reconstruction of the original 1787 Royal Navy ship built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty

Canadian built, American owned three-mast collier

(August 27, 1960 .... Sank near North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012)

She also appeared in the 1989 movie Treasure Island and the 2006 and 2007 movies Pirates of the Caribbean. Over the years, she was also used for promotion, entertainment, education.


Britannia, HMY

Former Royal Yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and where Prince Charles and Diana took their honeymoon

British yacht

(April 16, 1953 .... Decommissioned December 11, 1997, now a museum ship at Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland)

During her service as Royal Yacht conveying members of the Royal Family and various dignitaries, she steamed 1,087,623 nautical miles (2,014,278 km).


Alternate Image

Britannic, HMHS

Largest ship lost during the First World War.

British ocean liner

(February 26, 1914 .... Struck a mine and sank off the Greek island of Kea November 21, 1916, with the loss of 30 lives)

Launched just before the start of the World War I, she was put to use as a hospital ship in 1915.

USS Cairo

Cairo, USS

First ship sunk by a naval mine;

first vessel of the City class ironclads

American ironclad gunboat

(1861 .... sunk by a naval mine in the Yazoo River, December 12, 1862)

Served with the Army's Western Gunboat Fleet during the American Civil War.Remnants of the gunboat are in a museum in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

RV Calypso

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Calypso, RV

Oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau sailed her as a mobile laboratory for field research

American minesweeper; refitted for research

(March 21, 1941 .... Sank in 1996, raised, neglected, and now being restored in Brittany)

Carried advanced equipment, including mini submarines.

SS Cap Arcona

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Cap Arcona, SS

Her sinking was one of the biggest maritime losses of life during World War II

German ocean liner

(May 14, 1927 .... Sank on 3 May 1945 after being attacked by an RAF squadron.)

Only 350 of the 4,500 former concentration camp inmates aboard the ship survived.



Became famous for rescuing survivors of RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912

British-American ocean liner

(Cunard Line passenger steamship)

(August 6, 1902 .... Sunk in the Atlantic on July 17, 1918 during WW-I by a German U-boat)

After sailing through dangerous ice fields, she arrived at the sinking Titanic at 4:00 am and took on 705 survivors from lifeboats.

Carroll A. Deering

Carroll A. Deering

A famous maritime mystery after she was found with her crew of 11 missing

American five-masted commercial schooner

(1919 .... Found wrecked off Cape Hatteras on January 31, 1921; scuttled on March 4)

Theories of her demise include piracy, mutiny, hurricane, and paranormal events.  Nine other ships also disappeared without a trace in that same area at about the same time.

SS Central America

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Central America, SS

Sank in a hurricane in 1857, along with 400 passengers and crew and 30,000 pounds of gold

American three-masted paddle steamboat, stern-wheeler

(October 28, 1852 .... Sank September 12, 1857 about 160 miles east of Cape Hattera)

Originally named SS George Law; came to be known as “the ship of gold”.

HMS Challenger

Challenger, HMS

Undertook the first global marine research expedition

British steam-assisted corvette

(February 13, 1858 .... Broken up for her copper bottom in England, January, 1921)

Flagship of the Australia Station between 1866 and 1870.

Champion of the Seas

Champion of the Seas

On her maiden voyage, she set a record for the fastest run in 24 hours of 465 nautical miles (861 km)

English clipper ship

(April, 1854 .... Abandoned off Cape Horn in leaking condition in 1877)

She was the speedy passenger ship built for the run from Liverpool, England to Melbourne, Australia.

Charles W. Morgan

Charles W. Morgan

World's oldest surviving merchant vessel; America's last surviving wooden whaleship

American whaling ship

(1841 .... On exhibit at the Mystic Seaport museum in Mystic, Connecticut)

After a 5-year, multi-million dollar restoration, she set sail again, July, 2013.

City of Adelaide

City of Adelaide

The world's oldest surviving clipper ship

English clipper ship

(May 7, 1864 .... Out of service since 1948, current being restored)

From 1923-1948, she was commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Carrick. She is part of the National Historic Ships of the United Kingdom.



(officially North River Steamboat)

First enduring and financially successful steamboat, running on the Hudson River

American river steamboat

(August, 1807 .... Retired in 1814, scrapped)

Never known as Clermont at the time, but North River Steamboat.

After it was lengthened and refitted in 1808 at Clermont, NY, it was named the North River.

USS Cole

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Cole, USS

Suicide attack against it on October 12, 2000

American aegis-equipped guided missile destroyer

(February 10, 1995 .... Still in service)

Seventeen American sailors were killed in the incident while harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden.

Color Magic

Color Magic

The largest cruise ferry in the world

Norwegian cruiseferry

(December 15, 2006 .... Still in service)

The ship operates between Oslo, Norway and Kiel, Germany.

USS Constitution

Constellation, USS

(Also see the original USS Constellation)

The last sail-only warship designed and built by the U.S. Navy

American sloop-of-war

( August 26, 1854 .... On display at Annapolis, Maryland as a museum ship)

This flagship of the USN African Squadron from 1859-1861 disrupted the African slave trade off the coast of Africa.

USS Constitution

Constitution, USS

(nicknamed Old Ironsides)

Oldest commissioned ship afloat in the world

American three-masted heavy frigate

(October 21, 1797 .... On display at the Boston Navy Yard as a museum ship)

Larger and more heavily armed than the standard frigates of the period.

Costa Concordia

 Alternate Image 

Costa Concordia

Largest cruise ship disaster; ran aground on a reef off Isola del Giglio and capsized; 32 people dead

Italian cruise ship

(September 2, 2005 .... Capsized, January 13, 2012)

In 2008, she suffered damage to her bow when high winds pushed the ship alongside its dock.

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark

Lost China-to-London race to ship called Thermopylae

English clipper ship

(February 16, 1870 .... Now preserved in dry dock in Greenwich, England)

She is one of three remaining original composite construction (wooden hull on an iron frame) clipper ships from the nineteenth century.


Ships & Boats  A - C

Ships & Boats  D - G

Ships & Boats  H - N

Ships & Boats  O - S

Ships & Boats  T - Z

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