I think one of the better, more practical explanations I've heard for this verse came from Elizabeth George's book Beautiful in God's Eyes: The Treasures of the Proverbs 31 Woman.
She said of the Proverbs 31 woman in this verse: "She spares no cost in terms of money, time, or effort when it comes to contributing to the well-being of those she loves."
That resonated with me more than trying to wrap my mind around being compared to a ship. I think her description is what most women strive to do for their loved ones. Whether that means spending money on her children rather than on something she wants, or searching diligently for the best sales and the best coupons for the family's groceries, or working two jobs to help make ends meet, the modern Proverbs 31 woman works hard to care for her family.
And, while it's important to strive to better, I think it's also important that we give ourselves credit for the efforts we already put forth.