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As weight is added to a ship, it submerges. Maximum DWT is the amount of weight a ship can carry without riding dangerously low in the water.

Deadweight tonnage (also known as deadweight, abbreviated to DWT, D.W.T., d.w.t., or dwt) is a measure of how much weight a ship is carrying or can safely carry.[1][2][3] It is the sum of the weights of cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers, and crew.[1] The term is often used to specify a ship's maximum permissible deadweight, the DWT when the ship is fully loaded so that its Plimsoll line is at the point of submersion, although it may also denote the actual DWT of a ship not loaded to capacity.

Deadweight tonnage was historically expressed in long tons but is now usually given internationally in tonnes.[4] Deadweight tonnage is not a measure of the ship's displacement and should not be confused with gross register or net tonnage. But it will be as long as people refer to any of the various kinds of tons as simply "tons" and "tonnage".

Scale for a 6000 tonne DWT ship.


  1. ^ a b Turpin and McEwen (1980), pages 14–21.
  2. ^ Hayler and McKeever (2004) page G-10.
  3. ^ Gilmer (1975) page 25.
  4. ^ One long ton is 2240 pounds (1016.05 kg), and one tonne or metric ton (tonne isn't used in the U.S.) is 1000 kg.


  • Gilmer, Thomas C. (1975). Modern Ship Design. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-399-1.  
  • Hayler, William B. (2003). American Merchant Seaman's Manual. Centreville, Maryland: Cornell Maritime Press. ISBN 0-87033-549-9.  
  • Turpin, Edward A.; William A. McEwen (1980). Merchant Marine Officers' Handbook, 4th edition. Centreville, Maryland: Cornell Maritime Press. ISBN 0-87038-056-X.  


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