Ship’s Particulars: Definition, Importance, Examples, & More!

by | Last updated May 9, 2024 | Vessel Information | 0 comments

If you’re starting as a deck cadet on your first vessel, chances are, your initial task listed in your Training Record Book (TRB) is to find the ship’s particulars and fill in those details on one of the pages.

And if you’re a ship enthusiast who wants to know more than what the eye can see about the specific details of a certain watercraft, you can find them in the vessel’s particulars.

You will be surprised by the wealth of information you’ll find there and how seafarers, charterers, pilots, port authorities, and others use them to run the ship.

In my years of sailing in tanker vessels, I often encounter charterers asking for these data. 

Some are even very specific, like the height of the manifold from the main deck, the distance between manifolds, the distance from the ship’s side to the manifold, and even the distance from the accommodation to the nearest manifold!

What is a Ship’s Particulars?

A ship’s particulars, also known as vessel’s particulars, is a document that contains essential information about a ship.

If you’re wondering about the overall length of that vessel you’re seeing and how much weight it can safely carry, you can find them in that document.

Specifically, the information includes the following:

  • Ship’s name
  • Year Built and Shipyard
  • Call Sign
  • Flag
  • IMO and MMSI number
  • Classification
  • Manager/ Operator
  • Owner details
  • Dimensions
  • Tonnage
  • Engine power
  • Cargo capacity
  • Ballast tanks
  • Mooring arrangements and ropes
  • Anchors
  • Navigational and communications equipment
  • Ship’s contact details
  • Fuel consumption (loaded or ballast)
  • Cranes and derricks
  • Many others
A Trainign record Book (TRB) containing the ship's particulars written by hand.

Where to find them

The vessel’s particulars are normally  seen in these locations on board:

Bridge – Sometimes, you can find them inscribed on a metal plate prominently displayed on the bridge’s bulkhead, ensuring that anyone can quickly reference specific details.

Most of the time, the officers already have a printed and laminated copy of it inside. If displayed inside the wheelhouse, it mainly contains the ship’s specific details and communication equipment.

Cargo Control Room – If displayed inside the Cargo Control Room (CCR), it has more information related to ballast and cargo equipment, including pumps.

Engine Control Room – Lastly, you can find it inside the Engine Control Room (ECR). Aside from the basic info, it lists details regarding the main engine, power capacity, boilers, and other information relevant to the machinery.

Inside the ship’s computers – Since there are many details encoded here, you can also find a complete version of this document that everyone can access so they don’t have to leave their stations when looking for specific details about the ship.

Ship tracking websites – most free ship tracking websites give you basic access to the ship’s particulars. However, you may need to pay if you truly want unlimited access to the whole details.

Why is it important?

The importance of having a ship’s particulars cannot be overstated in our profession. Seafarers and other concerned parties use it for general information and planning purposes. It’s essentially useful on the safety and business side of things.

Here are several key reasons why vessel’s particulars are crucial:

Safety of navigation – Seafarers need to know the ship’s dimensions, tonnage, and engine power to navigate narrow waterways and avoid collisions safely.

That’s why you’ll find the Second Officer greatly considering these details in his voyage plan. He must have this readily available when calculating the UKC and air draft.

A tanker navigating safely along the middle of the channel.

Chartering – Charterers use the ship’s particulars to select the right ship for their needs. Accurate data is essential for calculating voyage costs, including fuel consumption and port fees.

Ship operations – A ship owner uses this information to calculate the costs of operating the ship and to set freight rates.

Efficient cargo handling – This is the Chief Officer’s domain. Understanding a ship’s cargo capacity, pump capacities, hold dimensions and weight limits is essential for safe and efficient unloading and loading operations

Port operations – Port authorities and pilots rely on vessel’s particulars to safely guide ships in and out of ports. Knowing these helps optimize berth allocation and facilitates the efficient use of port facilities.

Maintenance and Repairs – They provide details about the vessel’s engine specifications, equipment, structural designs, and components necessary for maintenance and repair.

Marine Insurance – Insurers and risk assessors use vessel information to determine the coverage and premiums for marine insurance policies.

Examples of Ship’s Particulars

Here are some examples of ship’s particulars you can find on board. Just by looking at it, you can already tell how big the ship is. You can even know what type of vessel it is without looking at their pictures.

Furthermore, you can also estimate how long its discharging operation is at full rate. This is because a quick glance at the pump rate and the maximum tank capacities will tell you everything.

An information sheet of a vessel containing the its specifics, owner details, contact info, and many others.

Here’s another one crafted for the Ballast Water Management Plan:

A ship's particulars intended for the Ballast Water Management Plan (BWMP).
Vessel details for BWMP.

Here’s another one for general use. The ship’s details and owner’s information are especially helpful during phone calls where the Captain may provide them on the spot.

A document containing the information about the vessel principal particulars, shipowner's information, and ship operator's information.

Some of these documents can be 2 or 4 pages long. These ship particulars provide more comprehensive data about the vessel and its components.

If you want a copy in Excel or Word format, click the download link for these files here. It’s an editable copy, so you’ll be free to change these ship’s particulars for your specific needs.

Likewise, you can also find them in my Download bar at the top here you can find additional resources.

May the winds be in your favor.



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