What is Ballasting and De-ballasting? A Simple Explanation!

The concept of ballasting and de-ballasting is nothing new to the shipping industry. Wayback in the era of wooden ships, solid ballast (such as sandbags, rocks, etc.) was used to ensure the stability of the sea-going ships. However, after the introduction of steel-hulled vessels around 150 years ago, liquid ballast (i.e. seawater) has been used as ballast to stabilize vessels at sea.

Before diving into the idea of ballasting and de-ballasting, let’s see an interesting metaphor to imbibe these concepts better. You might even find it fun!

Ballast and Balancing pole!

An Acrobat lassie with a balancing pole, does this sound weird here? Should be! But it would sound far better if the basic understanding of the essence is smelled in.

We all have witnessed an acrobat lassie with a balancing pole walking on a rope!! Most of us would have kept our eyes and mouth open certainly.

But the fact behind, how can she walk on a single rope and why only she or him? Is that due to mere practice or is anything more behind the wall? it’s all to do with again a “strange expression termed Stability”

To ornate in detail, the acrobat herself gets balanced just by holding the pole to her hands. During the stint of the scuffle, the lassie manages on just by the balancing pole itself none other than which is stability.

This is an unassuming principle which can make our eyes open to a stretch that how much stability matters to an object. View on to this pictorial considerate to look where we lead in to.


Yes, it’s just the interpretation of the ship, a vessel by the name herself. She walks on the streets, roads, highways, freeways of the sea balancing her stability to attain her destination from the departed. But how she does? A vague question behind.

For an object to float in water it needs gravity and buoyancy which we all know. Also, we have understood the laws of flotation but a ship by herself is in a light condition to float. When the perils at sea hit her she can be slammed as easier than a bamboo stick. Then how come, she should be safely afloat meaning to be a stable condition to retain herself.

For the sake of the said, she needs something heavy in her to make her stable enough to face the monsters of the sea, meant to be the dangers ahead. These heavy nature can be in the form of a solid medium or liquid medium to remain her robust.

Solid medium includes in form of bulk cargo or containers or any such object that add loads as deadweight. Liquid medium includes oil and water in which the part named water plays a vital role, on the regeneration of a term Ballast water.

What is Ballast?

According to the vocabulary, Ballast is defined to be the weight or counterweight or counterbalance. The term ballast is also added up in the way as it means to be in the marine terminology. Hence if water added as a weight to a vessel for stableness or counterbalance or evenness it is phrased as ballast water.

After having a hands-on understanding of the aforesaid, it’s also important to appreciate how this phenomenon applies to vessels a bit more.

Ballast water provides adequate stability to vessel as it weighs the ship down and lowers her centre of gravity. The buoyant force which acts upwards always affects the situation which is tallied for a stable float.

What is Ballasting and de-ballasting?


As simple as termed, when ballast water has taken on board it remains ballasting and taken out of her remains deballasting.

In order to achieve this, pumps first named with ballast are equipped to pump in and pump out the required weights basis her stability condition. As said, huge pumps with certain capacity are equipped on all the ships in order to serve the purpose by taking ballast water on the absence of solid weights namely the cargo.

Should be Isn’t that easy to take in and take out ballast water? If that is running on, it is definitely not. How about we eat a hamburger and leave the wrapper garbage on the next door. Will the neighbour accept that? certainly not. Just an example to think on!


Rulers of flotation

Global shipping transports over 80 per cent of the world’s commodities and in the process, transfers around 12 billion tons of ballast water across regions each year.

Every country thinks their territories are clean as same as we are. Being so they don’t accept any third party to get mixed with their fellow habitants. Trust the understanding is meant to be the ballast water taken onboard from a country needs to be exchanged or treated before pumping out the ballast water in another country. Sounds stingy but the whole world follows this!

Ballast water Management under Ballast water regulations governed by Marpol. Having given a basel foundation of the topic, its time to compile a sound brief on control and management of ballast water onboard ships the sooner. Good Luck!!!

In case of any doubt, Let me know in the comment section below. Keep reading awesome stuff!

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