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why is draft measured in inches of water column?

Hello monica,

Draft is not always measured in inches. In fact, the first 3 sites I looked at in response to your question used feet, meters, and inches respectively.
Inches would probably be used on smaller boats. It is important to know the loaded draft, including units used, and the least depth of the water on the proposed course to avoid poking a hole in the bottom of the boat or ship.

I hope this helps,


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Steve Johnson


I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.


I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

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