About the Design Process

Ships are complex systems. At a minimum, they must keep the water outside, float upright, steer straight, have some method for propulsion, accommodate the crew and passengers, and have enough volume to store everything (and everyone) that must go aboard. All these requirements, and more, are complex functions of the others -- they are interdependent. The design starts with an initial concept and a set of requirements called the mission statement and proceeds to the finished detailed design and the construction of the vessel.:

The ship design process is iterative. It would be much more efficient for us if we could simply directly, step by step, to the finished product, but that's prooved to be impossible so far. Take the simple example of a client who wishes to carry more containers on deck of his small cargo ship. The added weight on deck decreases the stability, which requires adding ballast to the hold, which increases the displacement, which lowers the speed, which requires a bigger engine...you see where it's all going. The iterative path we have to follow looks something like

this:

We teach two classes on the fundamentals of design at U.C. Extension.      

 

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