Thursday, September 28, 2023

Why do large ships pull water from the shore?

When you stand at the shore and look out to the open sea, you might notice large ships floating out in the water. But have you ever wondered why these massive vessels draw water from the shore before setting sail? It’s not just for the sake of having some extra H2O on board – there are several reasons why ships pull water from the shore.

One of the most important reasons is ballast. Ballast refers to the weight that’s added to a ship to help it maintain stability when sailing. Large ships can be quite top-heavy, and if they don’t have proper ballast, they could potentially tip over in the water. However, adding too much ballast can make a ship too heavy to sail quickly or efficiently. That’s where the water comes in. By filling up tanks with seawater, a ship can increase its weight without adding a bunch of extra cargo or equipment. But why not just use seawater?

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Seawater can be too corrosive for some ships. The buildup of salt and other minerals can cause problems in a ship’s pipes, engines, and other components over time. Freshwater, on the other hand, is much gentler on a ship’s systems. But how do you get fresh water out in the middle of the ocean?

That’s where shore-side water comes in. Some ports have special facilities that supply fresh water to ships before they embark on their journeys. Typically, a hose will be attached to the ship’s intake valve, and the water will be pumped in from the shore. This ensures that the ship has a steady supply of clean, fresh water to use as ballast, as well as for other needs like cooking, cleaning, and bathing.

Taking on shore water can also help ships save money. Many ports charge fees based on how many gallons of water a ship uses while docked. By filling up before they depart, ships can avoid those extra fees and stay within budget.

Of course, there are some downsides to taking on shore water. For one, ships have to spend time at port to fill up their tanks, which can cut into their schedules. Additionally, the process of taking on water can be time-consuming and physically demanding for crews. But overall, the benefits of having fresh, clean water on board outweigh the drawbacks.

When you see ships taking on water from the shore, it might seem like a simple task. But in reality, it’s an important part of keeping these vessels stable and efficient while out in the open sea. With the help of shore-side facilities and a capable crew, ships can continue to sail the world’s waters with confidence and ease.

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