Bulwark on a Ship: Definition, Height, Constructions

Bulwark on a Ship

Bulwark on a ship

What is a Bulwark on a Ship ? Bulwark Definition

Bulwark on a ship is a nautical term for a ship’s side to be extended above the level of a weather deck.

Define Bulwark

It is a Vertical Fore-and-aft plating just above the upper edge of the side of the ship surrounding the exposed deck(s).

Bulwark ship meaning : It is defined as boundary designed on the ship’s side to prevent passengers and crew from falling to sea.

As protection for crew and passengers, bulwarks fitted on weather decks and it is not intended as a major structural function.

Bulwark Definition : In simple sentence, bulwark meaning , a solid wall like structure fitted on the ship’s side above the upper deck to protect crew member falling into the sea.

As we know that it is fitted only to save falling crew and not intended as major structure so, they are of light scantling. The high stresses connected to adjacent structure is avoided.

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Freeing ports

Freeing ports are the opening provided on the ship side to allow the free passing of water on the deck to the sea freely.


It is an Opening or hole in the bulwarks at the level of the deck to drain water from the deck.

Bulwark on a ship

As we see the figure of Bulwark ,it is open.

Why it is open ?

The opening is called freeing ports.

Freeing ports are cut into bulwarks forming wells on decks so that the water can drain quickly.

Freeing ports area on each side depend on the length of well deck.

The ports’ lower edge must be as close to the deck as possible. It is appropriate to fit bars spaced about 230 mm apart across the port. Where hinge flaps are fitted and these hinges should be non-corrodible.

Structure of the Bulwark on a ship

What is the height of Bulwark ?

The height of Bulwark is at least 1 metre high on the exposed freeboard and the superstructure deck.

However, a reduced height may be allowed if this interferes with the operation of the ship.

Range of height

In open position,the height should be 1 metre high.These are supported by stanchions.

In some ships,these must not be more than 1.2 metres apart for forward 7 percent (%) of the length of the ships otherwise,it not be more than 1.83 metres.

Construction of the Bulwark on a ship

Bulwark should not be welded to the sheer strake to the half length amidship as this is liable to cause the plating to crack.

This can be done by riveting the bulwark to the sheer strake or by using FLOATING BULWARK, which has the advantages that the space/gap between it and the edge of the deck serve as a freeing port.

It is normally founded in a rounded sheer strake.

More photos


Bulwark of ship


Bulwark on a ship

So with this article we understand bulwark meaning along with more than one bulwark definition. Bulwark on a ship is very important from safety point of view.

What is camber of a ship?

In naval architecture, camber is a measure of lateral main deck curvature. The curve is applied transversely to a deck and is measured as the height of the deck at the centerline above the height of the deck at the side.

What is a girder on a ship?

A girder is a longitudinal member used in the construction of a ship’s bottom. They can be solid or hollow, and they can be placed above the keel (centre girder) or equally spaced from it (side girders). They can be continuous or divided into sections by floor sections (intercostal side girders).

What is ship gangway?

A gangway is a narrow walkway or platform that allows people to safely board a ship, truck, or train. Gangways are typically used for two purposes: allowing people and/or cargo to travel to and from docks, moored marine vessels, or aircraft, or for maintenance and loading/unloading of land-based trucks and trains.

What is the function of bulwark?

It is defined as boundary designed on the ship’s side to prevent passengers and crew from falling to sea. As protection for crew and passengers, bulwarks fitted on weather decks and it is not intended as a major structural function.

Where is bulwark located?

The Bulwark, located on the border of Tirisfal Glades and the Western Plaguelands, is the Forsaken’s last line of defence against the forces of the Scourge to the east.

What is ship keel?

The main structural member and backbone of a ship or boat, running longitudinally along the bottom of the hull from stem to stern in shipbuilding. It could be made of wood, metal, or another strong and stiff material.

What is camber and sheer?

Camber:-The deck’s transverse curvature from the centerline to the sides. This camber is used on exposed decks to direct water to the ship’s sides.
Sheer: The fore and aft curvature of the deck, rising from midship to the maximum at the ends.

What is strake in ship?

A strake is a longitudinal course of planking or plating on a vessel’s hull that runs from the boat’s stempost (at the bows) to the sternpost or transom (at the rear). The garboard strakes are the two on each side immediately adjacent to the keel.

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