Actually, I was only half-joking about Yamato healing herself. We had seen several instances where Yamato was heavily damaged during the original run, only to be miraculously repaired in the next episode. The third bridge is only the most glaring example of this, and I think it can be attributed to more than just simple in-jokes or sloppy editing.
As I understand it, there is a particularly Japanese philosophy that states that all things in this world, even inanimate objects, contain a spirit. The fantastic anime movie "Spirited Away" was a good example of this concept. Yamato is the ancient name of Japan and seems to be representative of the embodiment of the soul of the Japanese people and national spirit. Many times the series narration says "stand up Yamato!" when she was shown to be disabled or heavily damaged, as if it was a living being having been knocked down. I believe it was so pervasive, the production house that did the original translations back in the 70's had to invent the concept of the "Star Force" to replace constant direct references to Yamato/Argo because they were probably concerned that American audiences wouldn't get it. The most significant evidence for this was in Final Yamato
, where the ship was disabled by a Denguil vessel and everyone was knocked out. Yamato was adrift and then all of a sudden everything started turning on and Yamato soft-landed on her own. Even Analyzer/IQ-9 said with amazement before falling apart himself, "Yamato is alive?!?!". Yamato's final "death" scene on Aquarius was especially poignant, as it did not appear to sink in any kind of normal way that a sea-going vessel would, but instead writhing and convulsing before going down for the last time, as if fighting for its last breath.
So, short answer, yes, I firmly believe Yamato is perceived as a living, breathing thing in which humans are simply along for the ride. The ship/spirit was always the star of the show (for which it was always named) and she will heal herself.