Boats: They are vessels of ancient Solomon Islanders who charted a now-fantastical journey 2,000 miles into the unknown. They contain drunk people while idling with the engine running on the East River as the toilet floods the lower deck, penetrating nauseated passengers’ nostrils with sewage, an event which I can testify has happened at least one time (July 4th, 2018). They are vehicles of assholes, such as American Commodore Matthew Perry and the Winkelvoss twins. They are machines that disrupt whale song. They are Biblical. They are the catalyst for cannibalism and schlocky movies and thrilling movies. The Jungle Cruise. The Titanic. The Raft of Medusa. Noah’s Ark. Some of these are ships, I guess. The important question is how do you rank them?
That’s such an expansive and chaotic range of boat-related instances that the only metric to rank them is whether they justify their own existence. Here are nine boats that represent the best and worst reasons to be a boat, from worst to best.