Maritime Science and Technology: Changing our World

A well-received publication nominated for the 2016 Maritime Media Awards (The Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution).

'I have now had time to read most of the book – which can best be described as a superb publication. You are to be congratulated on a succinct and beautifully written volume which covers so much on naval architecture and shipbuilding. It is bound to become recommended reading for all students of maritime technology.'

Fred Walker, maritime historian

Originally launched in 2015 to mark the opening of the Lloyd’s Register Global Technology Centre at the University of Southampton, we are proud to share an online (text-only) version of this fascinating book.

Accessible via the Internet Archive it is fully OCR searchable with an extended index. A useful reference tool for those interested in the development of maritime science and technology, the book also provides great insight into other subjects like the diffusion of new technologies and knowledge transfer.

View online: Maritime science and technology: changing our world 


This exciting book addresses some key questions - Did the marine sector drive the developing technologies? Or did it just adopt them? It would appear that the former is the case - as the industry has moved from sail to steam, from steam to internal combustion engines, from wood to steel and to increasing sizes and types of specialist vessels - the pioneers of naval architects and marine engineers have applied the latest technologies, and our global society has benefited.

The ship has been fundamental to the process of globalisation. Integral to this transformation has been the significant contribution of countless naval architects and marine engineers. They were able to take advantage of the many new technologies that accompanied industrialisation, enabling the ship as the world’s principal cargo carrier to set the pace for the expansion of international trade. In this evolution the classification societies too would play an important part as they developed their own research capabilities and analysed their survey records in order to assess the way in which ships were changing.

Looking into the future, the technologies are becoming ever more diverse and more complex at an increasingly rapid rate, including nanotechnologies, big data analytics, LNG fuels, hydrogen cells, autonomous operations, advanced materials and human factor interfaces.

Who knows when the next shipping revolution will occur? Given the accelerating rate of technological change, and the pursuit of greater efficiencies, which has tended to reduce the time-lag between invention, innovation and wider adoption, it seems likely that this will occur sooner rather than later. But whenever it does, Lloyd’s Register surveyors and engineers will still be working closely with builders, owners, operators and manufacturers to make sure it happens safely.

Author - Nigel Watson

Managing Editor - Barbara Jones

Research: Heritage and Education Centre


  1. Towards a revolution


  1. New marine technologies – iron and steam
  2. The innovators


  1. The metal screw steamer
  2. Specialisation shrinks the world
  3. Science, standards and safety
  4. The impact of shipping technology on the nineteenth century world


  1. The motorship and the oil tanker


  1. Energy, specialisation and bigger ships
  2. The container revolution
  3. The decline and revival of the large passenger ship
  4. The search for cleaner fuel at sea
  5. Technology and the seafarer
  6. Regulation and technology
  7. The classification societies and the application of science and technology
  8. The impact of shipping technology since 1945
  9. The future

View online: Maritime science and technology: changing our world