Ship floodability

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Compartmentalisation of a ship, to reduce floodability
Parts of a water-tight compartment

Floodability is the susceptibility of a ship's construction to flooding.

Floodability is reduced by dividing the volume of the hull into watertight compartments with decks and bulkheads (which also increase the strength of ships), use of double bottom, and by other means. If a ship's hull is divided into watertight compartments, any flooding resulting from a breach of the hull can be contained in the compartments where the flooding occurs. As long as the flooding is localised, this can allow a ship to retain sufficient buoyancy to remain afloat.[1]

The Song Dynasty Chinese author Zhu Yu wrote of watertight compartments in his book, Pingzhou Table Talks, written from AD 1111 to 1117 and published in 1119. Watertight compartments were frequently implemented in Asian ships, and had been implemented in the warships of Kubla Khan.[2][3][4] Chinese seagoing junks often had 14 crosswalls, some of which could be flooded to increase stability or for the carriage of liquids.[5]

Alexei Krylov and Stepan Makarov worked extensively on ship floodability in the early 20th century.[6][7]


  1. ^ by Authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty (June 1943). A Seaman's Pocket-Book. London: HMSO. pp. 11–12. 
  2. ^ Sten Sjostrand & Claire Barnes. "Chronology of Asian maritime history". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Life - The Times". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Seoul Times". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Colin Ronan; Joseph Needham (1986), The shorter Science and Civilisation in China 3, C.U.P., pp. 70–77 
  6. ^ Спрямление корабля ч.2 Энциклопедия мореплапания // Encyclopedia of seafaring (Russian)
  7. ^ Mike Botchev Short biography of A.N. Krylov