boat accident or boating accident

  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    He died in a tragic boating/boat accident.

    Context: Only one ship was involved in the accident. Something has exploded in the cargo bay.
    We (especially those of us who are veterans of an American naval service) do not refer to "ships" as "boats."
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    We tend to use "boat" for smaller vessels, and "boating" tends to be a recreational activity, so if anything it would be a shipping accident.
    Did the explosion kill him, or did the ship sink and he died in the sinking? If the former, I think it would be better to say that he died in an accident aboard a ship.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    The Ngram Viewer indicates that "boating accident" is more frequent than "boat accident",
    but, as sdgraham has pointed out, if it's big enough to have a cargo bay, you are talking about a "ship".
    What then, sd?
    "He died in a... shipping accident"? (But "shipping" can also be done by truck or train.)
    An accident "at sea"?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    He died in a tragic boating/boat accident.

    Context: Only one ship was involved in the accident. Something has exploded in the cargo bay.
    He died in an accident aboard a ship.
    A boat accident would involve the boat itself. A boat fell on him. He got a splinter from the decking.
    A boating accident would involve the process/activity of boating. Two boats crashed or someone fell overboard while the boat was not docked.
     
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