How does a boat or ship carrying heavy cargo float while that same cargo would sink to the bottom of the ocean if dumped overboard?

How Does this Work?

A boat hull is lighter than the total amount of water that the boat’s hull pushes away, or displaces.

Imagine the boat making a hole in the water. So long as the boat weighs less than the weight of the water it would take to fill that hole, it can float.

So, a boat floats when it has displaced just enough water to equal its own original weight – a principle called buoyancy.

Even though a ship is very big and very, very heavy, it is not as heavy as the water it pushes away. That is why a big ship made of steel and full of cargo can float.

Boat

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