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Ship Geometry and Motion Terminology

ballast - weight placed in a ship in order to lower its center of gravity and increase its stability

beam - the breadth of a ship at the widest point

bow - the front section of a ship or boat

deadweight tonnage (DWT) - carrying capacity of a ship in long tons (2240 lbf = 1 l.t.), includes
cargo, crew, passengers stores, fuel, etc.

displacement - weight of water displaced by the ship in fully loaded condition (DWT + LWT)

draft - distance between the waterline of a ship and its keel.

freeboard - distance between the waterline of a ship and its deck

keel - The principal structural member of a ship, running lengthwise along the center line from
bow to stern, to which the frames are attached; the bottom of the ship’s hull

lightweight tonnage (LWT) - weight of the ship unloaded (i.e. without DWT)

squat - the uniform sinking of a ship (i.e. apparent increase in draft) due to pressure changes in
the surrounding waters resulting from the movement of the ship through the water

stern - the rear part of a ship or boat

trim - differential sinking of the stern of the ship relative to the bow, or visa versa

heave surge

pitch yaw

Port and Harbor Terminology

berth - a space at a pier or wharf for a ship to dock

camel - floating separator placed between a dock and a ship or between two ships; they generally
have fenders attached to them

dock - a marine structure for the mooring or tying up of ships or boats (general term)

dolphin - a marine structure (usually a cluster of piles) for mooring vessels; (1) a mooring
dolphin is designed only as a mooring structure and cannot support an impact force, (2) a
breasting dolphin is designed to support the impact of a ship when mooring

fender - a cushioning device, such as a bundle of rope or a piece of timber, used on the side of a
vessel or dock to absorb impact or friction

harbor - a sheltered part of a body of water deep enough to provide anchorage for ships

marina - a boat basin that has docks, moorings, supplies, and other facilities for small boats

navigation channel - a deeper part of a waterway or harbor designed to provide safe passage for
ships through shallow or restricted waters

pier or jetty - a platform extending from a shore over water and supported by piles or pillars,
used to secure, protect, and provide access to ships or boats

port - a place on a waterway with facilities for loading and unloading ships and may have
facilities for maintenance, dry-docking, refueling and resupply

turning basin - an area of a harbor or waterway designed to allow sufficient space for turning

wharf or quay - a dock consisting of a reinforced shore or riverbank where ships are loaded or
unloaded, generally, vessels may only moor on one side of a wharf