Topsides Definition

The term "topsides" refers to the upper portion of a ship or offshore structure that is above the waterline. Specifically:
  • On a boat or ship, topsides are the visible parts of the hull between the waterline and the deck, including the bow, stern, sheer, and any tumblehome (inward sloping of the hull above the waterline).
  • On an offshore oil platform or drilling rig, topsides refers to the upper half of the structure above sea level and outside the splash zone, where equipment like the oil production plant, accommodation block, and drilling rig are installed.
  • Topsides contrast with the lower portion of offshore platforms known as the jacket or substructure, which includes the supporting legs and lattice framework partly submerged in the sea.

Key Points

  • Topsides encompass the above-water components of a ship's hull or an offshore platform.
  • For ships, it includes the visible hull sections above the waterline like the bow, stern, and sides.
  • For offshore rigs, topsides house vital equipment like the drilling rig, living quarters, processing facilities, and helipad.
  • Topsides are often modular in design, allowing updates with newer technology on expensive offshore platforms.
So in summary, "topsides" refers to the upper, visible portions of a marine vessel or offshore structure that protrude above the water's surface.
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