Curb your anthropomorphizing
An article in today’s Baltimore Sun about the N.S. Savannah refers to the ship throughout as she and her. By a happy congruence, the Associated Press Stylebook, the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, and the Chicago Manual of Style all advise that ships and boats are it. So, for that matter, does The Sun’s stylebook.
The Times is indulgent enough to add “except for literary effect.” But be advised, if you are a journalist striving for “literary effect,” you run the risk of stimulating the reaction expressed in one of my newsroom haiku: “Proud reporter asks, / ‘Don’t you think it’s lyrical?’ / Shoot me in the head.”
With hurricane season upon us, it is well to keep in mind that storms also lack gender.