Displacement (ship)

Load lines, by showing how low a ship is sitting in the water, make it possible to determine displacement

The displacement or displacement tonnage of a ship is its weight based on the amount of water its hull displaces at varying loads. It is measured indirectly using Archimedes' principle by first calculating the volume of water displaced by the ship then converting that value into weight displaced. Traditionally, various measurement rules have been in use, giving various measures in long tons.[1] Today, metric tonnes are more used.

Ship displacement varies by a vessel's degree of load, from its empty weight as designed (known as "Lightweight tonnage"[2]) to its maximum load. Numerous specific terms are used to describe varying levels of load and trim, detailed below.

Ship displacement should not be confused with measurements of volume or capacity typically used for commercial vessels, such as net tonnage, gross tonnage, or deadweight tonnage.


Shipboard stability programs can be used to calculate a vessel's displacement

The process of determining a vessel's displacement begins with measuring its draft[3] This is accomplished by means of its "draft marks" (or "load lines"). A merchant vessel has three matching sets: one mark each on the port and starboard sides forward, midships, and astern.[3] These marks allow a ship's displacement to be determined to an accuracy of 0.5%.[3]

The draft observed at each set of marks is averaged to find a mean draft. The ship's hydrostatic tables show the corresponding volume displaced.[4] To calculate the weight of the displaced water, it is necessary to know its density. Seawater (1025 kg/m3) is more dense than fresh water (1000 kg/m3);[5] so a ship will ride higher in salt water than in fresh. The density of water also varies with temperature.

Devices akin to slide rules have been available since the 1950s to aid in these calculations. It is done today with computers.[6]

Displacement is usually measured in units of tonnes or long tons.[7]

Other Languages
беларуская: Водазмяшчэнне
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Водазьмяшчэньне
български: Водоизместимост
Esperanto: Akvodismeto
한국어: 배수량
hrvatski: Istisnina
Bahasa Indonesia: Berat benaman
italiano: Dislocamento
Bahasa Melayu: Sesaran (kapal)
日本語: 排水量
polski: Wyporność
română: Deplasament
Simple English: Displacement (ship)
slovenščina: Izpodriv
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Deplasman
українська: Водотоннажність
中文: 排水量