After seeing an edit summary that confused me a little at first, it occurred to me that the conventions for typing ship names is actually a rather obscure and specialized subject and that, since ships have become an increasingly common item in Campaign 2, that it ought to be looked into. I accordingly found an excellent summary article on the following website:
To summarize its points:
A. There are 4 different options for distinguishing ship names from other types of proper names. (Italics, option 1.iii, seems to be our preferred method, and I think it's the right choice.)
B. Only use the definite article (the) if its in the actual name, as in if it's part of what's actually written on the stern. (This one can be counter-intuitive; see the article below for a full explanation.)
C. Part 3 on prefixes seems to be inapplicable, as I've not noticed any such system being used in Exandria, but I left that section in on the article quoted below for completeness...
Wednesday, 9 February 2011 STYLE GUIDE: How to Write a Ship's Name
1. Identification In the absence of any grammatical or punctuational emphasis, vessel names would be hard to distinguish in written prose, because they are often named after people ("Mary Rose"), animals ("The Red Fox"), places ("Arendal") or other things ("Time Bandit").
For this reason there are four generally accepted ways to identify a vessel in writing (n.b. as proper nouns ship's names should always begin with a capital letter): i) Place the name in double quote marks - "Leopard 1" (recommended; as used in the Law Reports) ii) Capitalise the name - LEOPARD 1 (also common in the industry; if used, quote marks are unnecessary) iii) Italicise the name - Leopard 1 (the norm outside the industry; used by novelists, newspapers etc.) iv) Underline the name - Leopard 1 (also non-industry; some publishers prefer underlining to italics)
2. No Need for the 'the' You do not have to put 'the' before a vessel's name, unless it is part of the name itself. For example, if a ship called "Titan" had entered a port, it is better to say ' "Titan" entered the port ', rather than 'The "Titan" entered the port'.
This rule can be difficult when vessels are named after certain things. For instance, where a vessel is named "Emperor", it is very tempting to refer to it as ' the "Emperor" ', as you would refer to a real Emperor. But we have to remember that it is a name and not a description or title. Imagine you called your cat Emperor, you would not say 'the Emperor came around the corner', you would just say 'Emperor came around the corner'. The same rule applies.
3. Vessel Prefixes Every vessel either has, or can be given, a prefix to identify the type of ship (a list of the most common is provided below).
Generally you should only use the prefix if it has become part of the recognized name, as with "RMS Titanic". It is not necessary to describe a bulk carrier called "Deep Blue" as MV "Deep Blue" to tell people the vessel has a motor.
If you are citing a ship prefix there is no need to put a slash or full stops in the prefix (it is well known that they are acronyms) - so RMS rather than R.M.S. and MY rather than M/Y.
Common Prefixes: AHT - Anchor Handling Tug AHTS - Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessel DSV - Diving Support Vessel FV - Fishing Vessel HLV - Heavy Lift Vessel HSC - High Speed Craft MF - Motor Ferry MFV - Motor Fishing Vessel MS - Motor Ship * MSY - Motor Sailing Yacht MT - Motor Tanker MV - Motor Vessel * MY - Motor Yacht NS - Nuclear Ship OSV - Offshore Support Vessel RMS - Royal Mail Ship** RV - Research Vessel SS - Steamship SY - Sailing Yacht
- Motor Ship and Motor Vessel mean the same thing and either can be applied to the same vessels.
- Titanic seems to have the wrong designation as "RMS Titanic" as it was an ocean liner carrying passengers, but the RMS is correct as at the time it was given the prestigious right to carry Royal Mail to North America. As a result it was able to place RMS before its name and fly the Royal Mail standard whilst underway. On a more mechanical level it was a steam-engine powered ship, so some people still call it "SS Titanic".