- Not to be confused with vessel displacement.
Deadweight tonnage (also known as deadweight; abbreviated to DWT, D.W.T., d.w.t., or dwt) or tons deadweight (TDW) is a measure of how much mass a ship is carrying or can safely carry; it does not include the weight of the ship. DWT is the sum of the weights of cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers, and crew.
DWT is often used to specify a ship's maximum permissible deadweight (i.e. when she is fully loaded so that her Plimsoll line is at water level), although it may also denote the actual DWT of a ship not loaded to capacity.
Deadweight tonnage is a measure of a vessel's weight carrying capacity, and does not include the weight of the ship itself. It should not be confused with displacement (weight of water displaced) which includes the ship's own weight, nor other volume or capacity measures such as gross tonnage or net tonnage (or their more archaic forms gross register tonnage or net register tonnage).
Deadweight tonnage was historically expressed in long tons but is now usually given internationally in tonnes (metric tons). In modern international shipping conventions such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships, deadweight is explicitly defined as the difference in tonnes between the displacement of a ship in water of a specific gravity of 1.025 (corresponding to average density of sea water) at the draft corresponding to the assigned summer freeboard and the light displacement (lightweight) of the ship.
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