In a world where interstellar travel is just beginning, and is expensive, does such technology make ocean-based travel obsolete? Does the ability to use air/space flight around the world make water based vessels not economical, or are there still reasons to use it?

  • $\begingroup$ Is there a reason that can be given for the down-vote? I can make changes to the question if necessary. $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2015 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ I did not down-vote you, but hovering over the down-vote button reveals that the following: "The question does not show any research effort; it is unclear, or not useful". I think someone felt that you could have Googled "why do we still use ships when we have planes" and figured it out yourself, and I'm sort of inclined to agree. $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 12, 2015 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you think there is a connection? It seems like earth-based air travel would have had a larger effect, so you might consider that too. (That is, if we still have ocean-based travel now when people can fly, why would the ability to fly to places you can't sail to make it go away?) Editing your background thinking into the question would make it stronger. (Not my DV, by the way.) $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2015 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ Some good points. Perhaps I ought to consider the economic reasons why Ocean-based travel wouldn't disappear, such as fishing, luxury cruises, possibly natural resource gathering etc. $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2015 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ That down vote was mine. As said earlier, I don't think you made any effort by figuring out by yourselves. And I answered it because I believe that one should put good answer to bad question $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2015 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


Did planes make water based travel obsolete? Well, yes and no in the same time.

Before the planes were invented and able to cross Atlantic ocean, the only way to get from Europe to America was to board a ship and spend more than two weeks on the ocean.

Did ships vanish after we invented planes? Well, kind of.

Cargo ships are still in place, because they are really cheap. Cheapest way to get goods from China to America (or from Europe to America) is to load in on ship. Yes, you can use plane, but its costly.

Passenger ships are still in operation, but their goal is not to get you from place A to place B. Rather, current passenger ships aim on holiday passengers who want to visit several holiday destinations and then get home.

So, to answer your question: The ocean ships will be still around even if we travel to stars

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    $\begingroup$ Passenger ships for normal transport still exist as ferries. But those are short- to mid-range voyages. Nobody would use a ship to cross the ocean anymore (non-recreational). $\endgroup$
    – Chieron
    Nov 12, 2015 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ So the you probably wouldn't see ocean-based Navies in an environment like that as well, right? At most maybe Space-faring vessels capable of landing on and traversing the water? Trying to figure out what the waterways would be like on a planet such as this, both military and civilian. $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2015 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ Not only do we still have cargo ships... more cargo than ever is hauled around on even larger ships. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    May 10, 2017 at 6:00

We have airplanes, but non-perishable goods still travel the world on huge container ships, because they are simply a lot cheaper per ton transported.

If your spaceships can fly a ton of goods to the other side of the world for less money seagoing transport will be dead.

There will most likely still be ships for other uses: recreation, fishing and lurking nuclear subs.


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