Please consider the following and fill in the blank. This has driven me crazy ever since I moved to florida. How would somebody say the travel often by a boat without any sails.

  • I drove from New York to California. <-- By Car
  • I flew from New York to California. <-- By plane
  • I sailed from New York to London. <-- by Sailboat
  • I blank from New York to Florida <-- by motorboat

6 Answers 6


Sail can be used to describe the generic act of traveling by water, regardless of whether the craft used actually has a sail for its propulsion or not.

  • I agree, this is probably the most acceptable; This does not give an appropriate visual image of the mode of transportation. It's like driving somewhere and saying "I wheeled to the store", (bike,train,car,wagon, anything with wheels)
    – MVCylon
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 21:50
  • also, if I where to travel by some non-traditional; hot-air balloon. I would expect to have to say "I flew from NY to LA in a hot-air balloon". In the case of travelling by water, isn't motorized boat the traditional way in modern times? Should it be expected that I say "I sailed from NY to LON by speedboat"
    – MVCylon
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 21:54
  • I wouldn't use sail for travelling by kayak (I would paddle) or row-boat (I would row)...
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 22:21
  • 3
    I'd go with "I took a speedboat from NY to London" (although that would be pretty noteworthy since speedboats are generally small pleasure craft used for trips measured in hours, not suited to week-long voyages). For larger, commercial vehicles, you might say steamboat, passenger ship, or cruise ship.
    – Hellion
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 22:23
  • 2
    @Doug: Must be one heck of a fuel tank on that speedboat... ;-) Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 23:31

Motor-boated. It makes sense and is in the dictionary, first used way back in 1922.

  • does that mean boated is a verb?
    – MVCylon
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 21:47
  • 2
    Boat is also a verb, and it means to travel or go in a boat for pleasure.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 21:52
  • 3
    Not to spoil the party, but have you considered urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=motorboat? It's the first/second result when googling motorboat or motor-boat.
    – Hello71
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 0:18
  • 1
    @Hello71: I don't even need to click that link to know what it refers to! My answer would be if you can't use the word 'motor-boat' without some of the more immature members of your audience sniggering then perhaps you should reconsider them as audience members!
    – user3444
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 8:58
  • 1
    @ElendilTheTall: What if I were travelling by submarine? I motor-subbed?
    – MVCylon
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 16:10

Cruised is another common term.


Steamed is the technical term, though sailed is more usual.

  • 1
    Yes, and ironically, sails are still widely used but steam is only used by a small number of hobbyists.
    – user597
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 17:34
  • @mickeyf: ...and nuclear warships. Commented May 10, 2012 at 12:17

I'm hoping I didn't miss this already but the correct answer is to "Pilot" a boat. I Piloted the boat from point A to point B.

  • yeah, except if I'm the passenger and not the captain I don't think this would apply.
    – MVCylon
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 18:36

I would say I raced to Florida by motorboat, or cruised if the trip was more leisurely.

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