Commons:Category scheme ships

This Category scheme ships is a current proposal for the Category:Ships.


As a basic premise, ships are categorized by three broad methods: by type, by country, and chronologically.


Type distinction is highly subjective, as nomenclature for various types of ships change from country to country and over time, not to mention the whims of a ship's owner to classify their vessel as such. Generally, a ship should be listed under applicable widely recognized classifications as well as under classifications specifically applied to the ship in question, especially if by an official source. For example, the French Navy uses the designation frigate for both its ships commonly seen as frigates, as well as larger vessels internationally recognized as destroyers. In such a case, it is appropriate to list a ship under both frigates and destroyers. Additionally, certain types cross barriers between names, such as battlecruisers. The term has been so varied in its application that there is no clear definition. Additionally, most vessels that have been called such could also adequately be referred to as either cruisers or battleships or both. Thus it is perfectly fine to categorize in multiple categories on a case-by-case basis.


Both ships in general and all sizeable types should have a 'by country' sub-category, under which all appropriate 'ships of foo' categories should reside, alphabetized by country name. Format of 'by country' categories should be 'Ships of X', 'Naval ships of X', 'Merchant ships of X', 'Catamarans of X', etc. as appropriate. National adjectives ('American', 'British', 'Canadian', etc.) should not be used as these can be confusing both in alphabetizing and when compared to operator specific categories. Guidelines for super-national categories apply ('China', 'Korea', etc.), and can be used as makes sense, but each sovereign country should have a listing at the 'by country' level (historical countries included). Under a country category, specific operators can be sub-categorized as needed. For smaller nations, this may not make sense, but for larger countries--especially those with tumultuous histories--it may be wise to sub-categorize ships by the operator within the country. For example, 'Naval ships of Japan' should probably contain sub-categories for 'Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ships' and 'Imperial Japanese Navy ships' to differentiate between these services. Operator categories should be in the form 'Operator Proper Name ships'. Military operators should be listed as sub-cats of 'Naval ships of Foo' while commercial operators should be listed under the specific type of ship they operate, or if they operate various types, under 'Ships of Foo'.


Both 'by era' categories as well as year-specific categories should be maintained for chronological classification of ships. This is necessary to support wikis which use either one or the other (for example en:WP uses eras and fr:WP uses decades).

For 'by era' categories, ships are categorized into general eras which correspond roughly to important periods of naval history. Like ship types, where a specific ship is appropriate to list in multiple eras, that is fine. Whether or not a ship belongs in an era is based on whether that ship served any significant time during that period. Thus a ship built in 1899 would probably not fit in the 'Victorian era' unless it did something noteworthy right away. More likely it should be listed in the 'WWI era' as that is likely to have had any historically significant role. However, if in doubt, list a ship in each era during which it saw service. Major eras are as follows:

  • Age of Sail: Approximately 1570-1860
  • Victorian era: Approximately 1830-1900
  • World War I: Approximately 1900-1919
  • World War II: Approximately 1920-1945
  • Cold War: Approximately 1945-1990
  • Modern: Approximately 1990 to present

Specific or finer granularity is fine as sub-categories of these major categories. Additionally, specific conflicts or events can be listed as sub-categories of these (for example, 'Vietnam War ships' as a sub-category of 'Cold War ships').

For 'by decade' categories, first commission date should be used to categorize a vessel. This follows French practice, and Category: aircraft by decade precedents of using the first entry into service date. Because technology moved at a slower pace in the 18th century and prior, ships are organized by century. Subsequent periods felt radical technological changes from decade to decade and so from the 19th century onward, ships are organized by decade. The rule of commission date should be applied rigorously, but not with absolute inflexibiliy. In cases where the editor feels that a ship nearby another decade and is truly representative of that decade, then it is the editor's discretion to move the ship to the other decade (either earlier or later).


Start category: Category:ShipsEdit

  1. Ships by country
    1. Category:Ships of Foo
      1. Category:Operating Company ships
  2. Ships by era
  3. Ships by year
  4. Boats
  5. Fictional ships
  6. Fishing vessels
    1. Fishing vessels by country
    2. Fishing vessels by era
    3. Whalers
  7. Merchant ships
    1. Merchant ships by country
    2. Merchant ships by era
    3. Bulk freighters
    4. Carracks
    5. Container ships
    6. Escort vessels
    7. Freighters
    8. Galleons
    9. Tankers
  8. Museum ships
    1. Museum ships by country
  9. Naval ships
    1. Naval ships by country
      1. Category:Naval ships of Foo
        1. Category:Fooian Navy ships
        2. Category:Old Fooian Navy ships
        3. Category:Fooian Coast Guard ships
    2. Naval ships by era
    3. Aircraft carriers
    4. Amphibious warfare vessels
    5. Auxiliary ships
    6. Battleships
    7. Cruisers
    8. Destroyers
    9. Escort vessels
    10. Mine warfare vessels
    11. Missile boats
    12. Monitors
    13. Patrol vessels
    14. Pirate ships
    15. Ships of the line
    16. Submarines
    17. Torpedo boats
  10. Passenger ships
    1. Passenger ships by country
    2. Passenger ships by era
    3. Cruise ships
    4. Ferries
    5. Hospital ships
    6. Yachts
  11. Service vessels
  12. Ship construction
  13. Shipwrecks
  14. Ship insignia