Naval architecture also known as naval engineering, is an engineering discipline dealing with the engineering design process, shipbuilding, maintenance, and operation of marine vessels and structures. Naval architecture involves basic and applied research, design, development, design evaluation and calculations during all stages of the life of a marine vehicle. Preliminary design of the vessel, its detailed design, construction, trials, operation and maintenance, launching and dry-docking are the main activities involved. Ship design calculations are also required for ships being modified (by means of conversion, rebuilding, modernization, or repair). Naval architecture also involves formulation of safety regulations and damage control rules and the approval and certification of ship designs to meet statutory and non-statutory requirements.
The word "vessel" includes every description of watercraft, including non-displacement craft, WIG craft and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water. The principal elements of naval architecture are: