cover image

Beam (nautical)

Width of a ship at its widest point / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Beam (nautical)?

Summarize this article for a 10 years old


The beam of a ship is its width at its widest point. The maximum beam (BMAX) is the distance between planes passing through the outer sides of the ship, beam of the hull (BH) only includes permanently fixed parts of the hull, and beam at waterline (BWL) is the maximum width where the hull intersects the surface of the water.[1]

Graphical representation of the dimensions used to describe a ship. Dimension "b" is the beam at waterline.

Generally speaking, the wider the beam of a ship (or boat), the more initial stability it has, at the expense of secondary stability in the event of a capsize, where more energy is required to right the vessel from its inverted position. A ship that heels on her beam ends has her deck beams nearly vertical.[2]