The trim and stability booklet (T&S) is a critical element for the vessel. For barges, this may be called a loading manual. The name of the document takes many different forms.
Think of a trim and stability booklet like this: There are many pieces of equipment on your vessel. And each piece of machinery came with an operator’s manual. The T&S book is a like an operator’s manual for your entire vessel. It specifies many important elements that tell you how to safely operate your vessel. The T&S booklet guards against the following concerns:
These scenarios all sound very scary. They should. That is why the T&S book is so critical and why an engineer will prepare it carefully. The naval architect must take the physical limits of your vessel and imagine every possible way you can use it. Based on that, they develop a typical set of operating instructions. The T&S book should provide the following types of information.
The deliverable is typically a written report. Sometimes the engineer will combine this with the stability analysis report. Sometimes the engineer separates the stability analysis from the T&S book.
The T&S book is essential. But if you ever calculated a custom loading condition by hand, you know that it is very cumbersome. In addition to the T&S book, you may ask for a stability calculator. This can be a piece of custom software or just a spreadsheet. They take many forms. They are not typically part of the regulatory requirements.
A T&S book typically takes 1 – 2 weeks to prepare. Just the book. There is also a stability analysis behind the entire book. And development of hydrostatic models. Overall, given all the background tasks, it can take 4 – 8 weeks to go from a signed contract to a final T&S book.
Schedule is typically 1 -2 weeks for the T&S book. And typically 4 – 8 weeks total. Also add in some extra time for your responses. There will be a lot of discussion with you to get information on the vessel and its typical mission.
Soooo much input is required. Be ready to provide the following documents.
In addition to that, be ready to give detailed information about your vessel’s mission.
The engineer can fill in much of this information with educated guesses. But they charge you for all the time they spend guessing. The more you can provide, the faster and cheaper things go.
Also, provide your preferences. The engineer can customize the T&S book. Anything you want included or excluded? Did you want a computer calculator for the captain? Did you need training and orientation on it? These extras cost money, but some are relatively cheap. Most important, be ready for frequent and honest communication with the engineer.