What is dry docking and how does it work?

Dry docking, a crucial process in the maritime industry, plays a pivotal role in maintaining the safety, reliability, and efficiency of vessels. By bringing a ship to a specially designed drydock platform, it allows for essential maintenance, repair, and inspection work to be conducted on the underwater components that are typically submerged in water.

The dry-docking process involves several key steps:

Pre-docking preparation

The vessel’s owner or operator will typically make arrangements with a shipyard or dry dock facility to schedule the drydocking, ensuring a smooth transition. During this stage, the vessel undergoes necessary preparations, including ballasting to enhance stability, removal of loose equipment, and other crucial tasks to ensure a successful dry docking operation.

Drydock flooding

Once the preparations are complete, the drydock is flooded with water, gradually reaching the same level as the surrounding water. The vessel is then carefully manoeuvred into the drydock and securely positioned. This step requires skilled navigation and precise handling to ensure the vessel’s proper alignment and stability within the drydock.

Dock draining

Once the vessel is in place, the dry dock is drained of water, causing the vessel to rest on blocks or keel blocks. The workers can then access the underwater parts of the vessel for inspection or repair work.

Repair and maintenance work

Once the vessel is dry-docked, various types of maintenance and repair work can be carried out, such as cleaning and painting the hull, replacing damaged propellers, repairing ballast tanks, or upgrading various systems and equipment. These measures not only enhance the vessel’s performance but also extend its operational lifespan.

Reflating and undocking

Once the repair and maintenance tasks are completed, the drydock is reflooded, allowing the vessel to float out and be relocated to a nearby berth. Final testing, inspections, and checks are conducted to ensure the vessel’s readiness before it returns to service.


As leaders in maritime solutions, we offer a comprehensive range of services related to dry docking. With extensive experience and a global network of strategic partnerships with shipyards, Noatum Maritime provides expert support throughout the dry-docking process. Our dedicated teams ensure meticulous planning, efficient coordination, and adherence to the highest industry standards, guaranteeing successful execution.

Whether it’s collaborating with shipowners, facilitating pre-docking preparations, managing the drydock process, or coordinating repair and maintenance work with the shipyard, Noatum Maritime’s expertise ensures a seamless dry-docking experience. By leveraging our expertise and global reach, Noatum Maritime continues to support the maritime industry, ensuring the smooth operation and optimization of vessels through efficient dry docking.