A ship is like a floating large watercraft made up of several different parts. A ship is a large watercraft that is designed to navigate through the water, typically oceans, seas, and rivers, and transport people or cargo from one place to another.

However, we can’t imagine a ship without its three main parts: The Hull, an engine room and a navigation bridge. Let’s learn more about Ship

Ships come in various sizes and shapes, from small fishing boats and pleasure craft to enormous container ships and oil tankers. They are often powered by engines, although some are propelled by sails or a combination of both. Ships have played a crucial role in human history and continue to be an important means of transportation and commerce around the world.

Do you know Ship is also called ‘Vessel’ – Read Here Why?

Different Parts Of Ship And Their Function

Different Parts Of A Ship
Parts of Ship – Explained

1. Bow

The bow of a ship is the front or forward part of the vessel that cuts through the water as it moves forward. The shape of the bow can vary depending on the type of ship and its intended purpose. The key two requirement for a bow is to have; minimum drag possible or so-called resistance between the water and the ships hull and must be tall enough to avoid water splashing to easily on top of it.

The bow of a ship is an important design feature that affects the ship’s performance, stability, and maneuverability. In addition to the bulbous bow, other common bow designs include the clipper bow, the spoon bow, and the cruiser stern.

Function: Have you feel that extra effort you have to make to walk through water? That is due to water drag and its resistance to your body motion. So to reduce similar negative forces on ships body; bow are placed on ship assisting easy propulsion.

Also Read 10 Different Types of Ship Bow – Explained

2. Anchor

How-Ship-Anchor-works - Different Parts Of A Ship
A big container Ship at Anchorage with one anchor down

An anchor is a heavy object that is attached to a ship by a chain and is used to keep the ship from drifting away. When the anchor is dropped, it digs into the seabed, providing a firm hold for the ship.

The process of dropping the anchor is called “anchoring.” The anchor is lowered from the bow of the ship, typically by a mechanical or hydraulic system. Once the anchor hits the seabed, the ship is pulled back by the anchor chain until the anchor is firmly embedded in the ground.

The anchor is an important safety feature of a ship, especially when the ship is in harbor or in shallow waters. It helps to prevent the ship from drifting into other vessels or running aground.

Explanation: An anchor is a hefty piece of metal that is attached to chain cables and is stowed or fastened in the hose pipe throughout the journey or ship operation. With the extra subclass of sea anchors, it might be permanent or temporary.

Different Parts Of A Ship
Parts of Anchor – Mentioned

An anchor is made up of three essential components including:

  1. A shank. A shank is the structure of the stem that is secured and attached to the flute by a tripping pin passing through the shank hole. These connecting frameworks and stacks constitute the anchor crowns together.
  2. A Stack. A stack is a crossbar that assists in rotating the anchor in order to enable the fluke to penetrate the ground.
  3. A Fluke. Fluke is the portion of the anchor that dips deeply into the water to keep the ship afloat.

Anchors serve the function of holding hands, locking ships to a specific location by hooking their flutes deep into the seabed. The weight of the chain and the force that results from this combination are what keep the ship anchored in its position.

Also Read How ship anchor Works – Explained

3. Bow Thrusters

Bow thrusters are propeller-like devices mounted on both sides of the ship’s bow. It is used to improve a ship’s maneuverability in crowded waterways, such as canals or areas next to ports.

Most designs include an impeller in a tunnel that runs through the bow of the ship. Bow thrusters are sometimes referred to as tunnel thrusters because of their odd appearance. The impeller may be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise, providing bidirectional propulsion capability.

Different Parts Of A Ship
Bow of the ship – bulbous bow (Underwater view of the Bow)

Bow thrusters are typically installed in the bow, or front, of the vessel, and they work by using a motor to rotate a propeller that generates a sideways force that moves the boat laterally. This sideways force can be used to push the bow of the boat to port or starboard, allowing the boat to turn or move sideways.

Bow thrusters significantly reduce a ship’s total operating costs by compensating for part of the tug assistance charges levied by the port. Proper bow thruster marks above the waterline on both sides are crucial.

Electrical power is used to power these thrusters, with the prime mover coupled to the impeller shaft through a bevel gear arrangement. On some ships, hydraulic propulsion is also used when an electrical propulsion system is neither feasible nor accessible.

4. Hull of the Ship

Different Parts Of A Ship
Large Fully Loaded Container Vessel.

The hull of a ship is the main body or frame of the vessel, excluding the deck, superstructure, masts, and rigging. It is the watertight shell that provides buoyancy and supports the weight of the ship and its cargo. The hull is typically made of steel, aluminum, or other durable materials and is designed to withstand the forces of the sea, including waves, wind, and currents.

The shape of the hull also affects the ship’s performance, stability, and speed. Different types of ships have different hull shapes depending on their intended use, such as cargo ships, cruise ships, and naval vessels.

  • The hull is a watertight vessel’s body that may be open or partially covered with a deck.
  • Hull has several watertight decks and bulkheads as the major transverse membrane.
  • The intermediate member of the hull consists of girders, webs and stringers.
  • Depending on the structural arrangements, there may be longitudinal members for strengthening purposes.

Ship Hulls are composed of a series of interconnected plates called stakes, as well as other structural members, including plating and stiffeners. The structural components of a stiffener include longitudinal and transverse frames, bulkhead stiffness, girders, and beams. While ship plating mostly consists of deck plating, it also includes a bottom, bulkhead, and side plating.

The design of a ship’s hull is such that it offers little water resistance, is possible and cost-effective to build, and does not compromise cargo room. By calculating and minimizing the hull’s resistance to ship’s motion, it is simple to enhance the overall efficiency of a ship.

5. Keel of the Ship

The keel of a ship is a large, longitudinal beam or plate that runs along the centerline of the vessel from bow to stern. It is usually the first part of the ship’s hull to be constructed and is the foundation upon which the rest of the vessel is built.

The keel provides stability to the ship, both in terms of its ability to resist capsizing and in its ability to maintain a straight course. It also serves as a structural support for the frames, plating, and other components of the ship.

In addition, the keel often contains ballast tanks or compartments that can be filled with water or other materials to adjust the ship’s trim and stability. In modern ships, the keel may also house various types of machinery, such as the propulsion system, steering gear, or fuel tanks.

  1. The shape and size of the keel can vary depending on the type of ship and its intended use. For example, a sailing ship may have a deep, V-shaped keel to provide stability and prevent leeway (sideways drift), while a modern cargo ship may have a flat-bottomed keel for shallow-water navigation.
  2. The keel is often made of steel or another strong, durable material to withstand the stresses of sailing. In some cases, the keel may be reinforced with additional structures or materials, such as fiberglass or carbon fiber.
  3. The keel may also include a bulb or fin at the bottom to improve the ship’s stability and performance. These features help to reduce drag and improve the ship’s ability to maintain a straight course.
Keel laying ceremony being held at Ship Building Dock – Theseaholic

Finally, the keel is an important symbol of a ship’s strength and endurance. In many cultures, the keel-laying ceremony is a significant event that marks the beginning of the ship’s construction and is often accompanied by various traditional rituals and blessings.

Read More: What is Keel on Ships & Types of Keel Explained

6. Double Bottom Hull

Double Bottom Hulled Ship Hull

Double bottom refers to the design feature of having two layers of watertight compartments at the bottom of a ship’s hull. The double bottom is a safety feature that provides an additional layer of protection against hull damage and flooding in the event of a collision or grounding.

The first layer of the double bottom is the inner bottom, which is located immediately above the keel and provides the main structural support for the ship. The second layer is the outer bottom, which is located above the inner bottom and provides an additional layer of protection against hull damage.

The space between the inner and outer bottoms is known as the double bottom space and is usually used for ballast water storage, fuel oil tanks, or other storage purposes.

The use of double bottoms is mandated by international regulations for ships, and the design and construction of double bottoms must meet specific standards to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the ship.

7. Ballast Tanks

Ballast tanks are tanks onboard ships that are used to control the stability and draft of the vessel. The tanks are filled with seawater or freshwater to adjust the weight distribution of the ship and to maintain its stability as it sails.

The primary function of ballast tanks is to adjust the ship’s draft, which is the depth of the ship’s keel below the waterline. The draft affects the ship’s maneuverability and determines the amount of cargo that the ship can carry.

Ballast tanks are also used to maintain the ship’s stability by keeping the center of gravity low and preventing the ship from capsizing or rolling over in heavy seas.

The location and size of ballast tanks vary depending on the design of the ship. Some ships have dedicated ballast tanks that are separate from cargo holds, while others use cargo holds as ballast tanks when they are not filled with cargo.

Ballast Exchange process – Theseaholic
  • These tanks should be provided with proper care to prevent corrosion, as seawater is highly corrosive.
  • These tanks are revolutionary to the marine industry as, before their evolution, solid ballast was used, and their discharge is quite difficult compared to easier pumping of liquid ballast.

Ballast tanks can also be a source of pollution if they are not properly managed. The discharge of ballast water from one region to another can introduce invasive species and other contaminants into marine ecosystems. To mitigate this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed regulations that require ships to manage their ballast water to prevent the spread of invasive species.

8. Bunker tanks / Fuel Oil Tanks

Bunker tanks, also known as fuel oil tanks, are tanks onboard ships that are used to store fuel oil, which is used to power the ship’s engines. The fuel oil can be heavy fuel oil (HFO) or marine gas oil (MGO), depending on the type of engine and the ship’s operational requirements.

The size and number of bunker tanks on a ship depend on the ship’s size, type, and operating range. Larger ships usually have multiple bunker tanks, while smaller ships may have a single bunker tank.

The location of the bunker tanks depends on the ship’s design, but they are typically located near the center of the ship to ensure stability and to minimize the effect of fuel oil movement on the ship’s trim and list.

Bunker tanks must be properly maintained and managed to ensure the safe operation of the ship. Fuel oil tanks can be a source of fire and explosion if proper precautions are not taken. Regular inspections, maintenance, and cleaning are necessary to prevent leaks, corrosion, and other issues that can compromise the integrity of the tanks.

In addition to the safety concerns, bunker tanks are also subject to environmental regulations. The discharge of fuel oil or fuel oil residues into the sea is prohibited by international regulations, and ships must comply with strict guidelines for the management of fuel oil and fuel oil residues to prevent pollution of the marine environment.

9. Stern of the Ship

The stern of a ship is the back end or aft-most part of the vessel. It is the opposite end of the ship from the bow, which is the front end of the ship.
Stern view of the Ship – Theseaholic.com

The stern of a ship is the back end or aft-most part of the vessel. It is the opposite end of the ship from the bow, which is the front end of the ship.

The stern of the ship is typically where the ship’s propulsion system is located, including the engine, propeller, and rudder. The steering system is also located at the stern, allowing the ship to be maneuvered by the helmsman or automated steering system.

The stern of the ship may also have other equipment and features, such as navigation lights, lifeboats, rescue boats, and mooring equipment. The stern may also have a stern platform, which is a lower deck area at the back of the ship that can be used for boarding or for deploying equipment.

Credits: www.swoop-antarctica.com

In addition to its functional features, the stern of the ship can also have aesthetic and design elements. Many modern ships have a sleek and streamlined design at the stern, which can enhance the ship’s speed and efficiency. Some ships may also have decorative features, such as a nameplate or logo, at the stern to identify the vessel.

Also Read: Different Types of Ship Stern Explained

10. Poop Deck

The poop deck is a raised deck that is located at the stern of a ship, above the main deck. Historically, the poop deck was used as a vantage point for the captain and officers to oversee the crew and the operation of the ship. It was also used as a platform for communication between the captain and other ships or shore stations.

The poop deck is typically smaller than the main deck and is often reserved for ceremonial or decorative purposes. On some ships, the poop deck may be enclosed and used as a cabin or quarters for the captain or other officers.

The term “poop deck” is thought to have originated from the Latin word “puppis,” which means “stern.” Over time, the term “poop” came to refer specifically to the raised deck at the stern of a ship.

Today, the term “poop deck” is sometimes used in a figurative sense to refer to a position of authority or power. For example, someone who is said to “sit on the poop deck” may be seen as a person of influence or control.

11. Rudder of the Ship

The rudder of a ship is a device used to steer the vessel. It is typically located at the stern of the ship and consists of a flat or curved surface that can be turned by a system of ropes, cables, or hydraulic actuators. The rudder is usually mounted on a vertical shaft called the rudder post, which is connected to the ship’s steering mechanism.

When the rudder is turned to the left or right, it deflects water flowing past the stern of the ship, creating a force that causes the ship to turn in the opposite direction. The amount of turning force generated by the rudder depends on its size, shape, and angle of deflection, as well as the speed and direction of the water flow.

The rudder is an essential component of the ship’s steering system and is designed to provide precise and responsive control of the vessel. Modern ships often use advanced technologies such as autopilots, electronic controls, and feedback systems to enhance the performance and reliability of the rudder and the overall steering system.

In addition to its primary function of steering the ship, the rudder can also play a role in stabilizing the vessel and reducing drag. Some ships use specialized rudder designs, such as the Becker rudder or the twisted leading edge rudder, that can improve hydrodynamic efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

There are different types which include:

i) Balanced Rudder

A balanced rudder is essentially a rudder plate that is attached to the rudder stock just at its top. In other words, the rudder stock does not descend along the rudder’s span.

The position of the rudder stock along the chord of the rudder (from forward to aft end of the rudder) determines whether a rudder is balanced or semi-balanced. In balanced rudders, in which spade rudders are typical, the rudder stock is positioned so that 40% of the rudder’s surface is in front of the stock and the remaining 60% is behind it.

ii) Semi-balanced rudder

A semi-balanced rudder is a type of ship’s rudder that is designed to reduce the force required to turn the rudder by balancing the water pressure on both sides of the rudder blade. The semi-balanced rudder has a small surface area forward of the rudder axis, which helps to reduce the imbalance of water pressure on either side of the rudder blade. This results in less force being required to turn the rudder, which can improve maneuverability and reduce steering losses.

The semi-balanced rudder is a compromise between the balanced rudder and the unbalanced rudder. Unlike the fully balanced rudder, which requires complex and expensive hydraulic systems to control, the semi-balanced rudder can be controlled manually or with simple mechanical systems. Unlike the unbalanced rudder, which can generate large steering forces and require significant power to turn, the semi-balanced rudder can reduce the required steering force and power consumption.

Semi-balanced rudders are commonly used on smaller vessels, such as ferries, tugs, and offshore supply vessels, where maneuverability is important but hydraulic steering systems may not be practical. They are also used on some larger vessels as an alternative to fully balanced rudders, where cost and complexity considerations make the fully balanced rudder less attractive.

iii) Unbalanced Rudder

These rudders’ stocks are fastened at the most forward point of their span. In contrast to balanced rudders, the rudder stock runs along the chord length.

The explanation is straightforward. In this instance, the torque required to turn the rudder is far greater than what would be required for a balanced rudder. Therefore, the uppermost portion of the rudder must be secured to the spindle to prevent it from deviating from its natural position. However, unbalanced rudders are no longer often used.

12. Propeller

A propeller is a rotating device that is used to propel a ship through water by generating a thrust force. It consists of a hub, which is mounted on the ship’s shaft, and a set of blades that extend outward from the hub.

When the propeller is turned by the ship’s engines, the blades rotate and create a pressure difference between the front and back of the blade. This pressure difference causes water to flow over the blade surfaces, generating a thrust force in the direction of the blade’s rotation. The cumulative effect of the thrust forces from all of the blades generates a forward motion that propels the ship through the water.

The performance of a propeller is affected by a number of factors, including its diameter, pitch, number of blades, and shape. Propellers are designed to be efficient over a range of operating conditions, such as different speeds, depths, and water conditions.

In addition to its primary function of propelling the ship, the propeller can also play a role in reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Some modern ships use specialized propeller designs, such as the controllable pitch propeller or the contra-rotating propeller, that can improve hydrodynamic efficiency and reduce drag. These designs allow the propeller to be adjusted to optimize performance for different operating conditions, resulting in lower fuel consumption and emissions.

13. Duct Keel

A duct keel is a longitudinal structure that runs along the centerline of a ship’s bottom, below the main keel. It is typically located aft of the main keel and extends aft to the rudder post. The duct keel is usually wider and deeper than the main keel, and is often used to house the ship’s steering gear and associated machinery.

The duct keel also provides additional strength and stiffness to the ship’s bottom, which can help to reduce vibration and improve seakeeping performance. It can also act as a skeg to improve directional stability and reduce the effects of lateral forces on the rudder.

In some cases, the duct keel may be designed to act as a propeller tunnel or a waterjet tunnel, which can help to increase the efficiency of the ship’s propulsion system. This can be achieved by reducing the drag and turbulence around the propeller or waterjet, and by directing the water flow more efficiently to the propeller or waterjet inlet.

The use of a duct keel is common in modern shipbuilding and naval architecture, particularly for large vessels such as container ships, tankers, and cruise ships. It is typically designed and engineered to meet the specific requirements of each vessel, taking into account factors such as size, speed, and operating conditions.

14. Accomodation

Accommodation on a ship refers to the living quarters for the crew, passengers, and other occupants of the vessel. The accommodation area typically includes cabins or staterooms, mess rooms, lounges, bathrooms, and other facilities that are necessary for the comfort and safety of the people on board.

The design and layout of the accommodation area are influenced by a number of factors, including the size and type of the vessel, the intended use of the vessel, and the number and needs of the occupants. For example, a passenger cruise ship will have much larger and more luxurious accommodation facilities than a cargo ship, which is primarily designed for transporting goods.

The accommodation area is typically located in the superstructure of the ship, above the main deck. This provides a higher vantage point for occupants, as well as protection from the elements. The design of the superstructure and accommodation area also plays a role in the stability and safety of the vessel, as it can affect the ship’s center of gravity and stability in heavy seas.

Accommodation facilities on a ship must comply with safety regulations and standards, including fire safety regulations, emergency lighting, and ventilation requirements. Crew and passengers must also be provided with adequate living space, privacy, and amenities such as food service, laundry facilities, and medical care.

The design and construction of accommodation facilities on a ship are subject to continuous improvement and innovation, with new technologies and materials being used to enhance safety, comfort, and energy efficiency.

15. Emergency generator Room

An emergency generator room is a dedicated space on a ship where an emergency generator is housed. The emergency generator is a backup power source that is used in the event of a power failure or loss of main power supply.

The emergency generator room is typically located in a safe and easily accessible area of the ship, and is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, shock, and vibration. It is also equipped with fire suppression systems and ventilation systems to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment.

The emergency generator itself is usually a diesel-powered generator that is capable of producing enough electricity to power critical systems on the ship, such as the navigation system, steering system, and communication system. The generator is designed to start automatically in the event of a power failure and can provide power for several hours until the main power supply is restored or until the ship can reach port.

The emergency generator room and its associated equipment are subject to rigorous safety and maintenance standards to ensure that they are always ready for use in an emergency situation. This includes regular inspections, testing, and training for personnel who operate and maintain the equipment.


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