October 28, 2016

Main types of marine propulsion systems

From the old sailing ships (that were dependent on wind and currents) to today’s ships with highly sophisticated engines, Marine propulsion systems have changed radically over the years. In this section, we study the varous types of marine propulsion. Sailing ships Steamships Modern steamships The change from steamships to motorships over […]
October 14, 2020

Sailing ships

Before the invention of the steam engine, ships were powered by the wind. This meant that they were dependent on the wind and on ocean currents. Voyages took a long time and were not direct from one port to another as the ship’s route followed the wind belts. An example […]
October 28, 2016


Once the steam engine had been invented and used to pump water from mines or on railway locomotives, several steam-powered ships were built. Initially these were small vessels, trading along the European coast or on American waterways. In 1818, the steamship Savannah was built for an American owner. Her steam engine […]
November 23, 2016

Modern Steamships

From the earlier steam turbine vessels where coal was the fuel, oil-fired boilers generate the steam that turns the turbines. This principle has been in use since the 1920s, but modified greatly so that propulsion by steam turbine is now more efficient, and remains a propulsion type used in some […]
November 24, 2016

The Change from Steamships to Motorships

The use of the internal combustion engine in ships was introduced in the early 1900s, and the Royal Dutch Shell tanker Vulcanus (built 1910) was probably the first motorship. One of the leading shipyards to design and build motorships was William Doxford at Sunderland in Britain. In 1906, the Doxford yard […]