Ship Abbreviations — Common Prefixes And Their Meanings
When you see or hear the names of ships, it’s common to encounter a set of letters listed before the vessel’s name. The USS Constitution, the HMS Bounty, the RMS Titanic, and the SS Lusitania are just some of the iconic ships named in this fashion.
To those unfamiliar, which would likely be most civilians, these letters may seem somewhat random. But they serve as a shorthand that helps to designate the type and purpose of the vessel. Knowing a ship’s prefix is valuable information for captains and other watercraft operators in the area.
However, not all ships use a prefix. This is especially true for small personal vessels, which rarely, if ever, bear a prefix. Similarly, many mid-sized vessels, such as ferries, do not carry one either. But on larger ships, they’re all but universal.
Let’s discuss the most common prefixes and their meanings as it pertains to ship abbreviations.