Titanic FAQs: What Was Titanic’s Displacement?

The “Big Ship”

Question: What was the displacement of the Titanic?

Answer: 52,310 imperial tons at a mean draught of 34′ 7″.

The displacement (or the weight of the seawater that the ship would displace, an estimate of literal weight rather than of enclosed space) of the Olympic and Titanic have often been cited at 66,000 tons. However, this figure is inaccurate. What was the actual displacement for the Olympic and the Titanic, then? (The Britannic‘s displacement was slightly greater due to her larger beam and other modifications made to her design.) Harland & Wolff’s Edward Wilding testified that the displacement of the Olympic and Titanic, at a draught of 34′ 7″, was identical: 52,310 tons.

Since the weight of a vessel varies depending on her load status (i.e., fuel, cargo, provisions, etc.), the measurement of 52,310 tons (British tons of 2,240 pounds, or just over 117 million pounds) cited above would only apply to the ship at a draught of 34′ 7″. At a draught of 27′ 10 1/2″, Titanic displaced 40,850 tons; at a hypothetical draught of 36′ (deeper than her standard in service load), she would still displace less than 55,000 tons.

Recommended Reading:

  • On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the RMS Titanic by Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt
  • Report Into the Loss of the SS Titanic, by Sam Halpern, et al.
  • The 66,000 Ton Myth by Mark Chirnside.