What is Pivot Point?

Pivot point means the center of any rotational system.It is very vital to know the location of the pivot point as the ship handling depends greatly on knowing the location of the same.The pivot point is not a fixed point.It changes the location depending on the below factors;


 When the vessel is at rest

When the vessel is at rest or static, the pivot point is almost the same as that of the center of Gravity, which is denoted by G.

pivot point


 When the Vessel moves forward

When the vessel moves forward, the position of pivot point shifts forward.The new pivot point will be about 1/4th of the Length of the vessel from the forward

pivot_vessel moving ahead


 When the vessel moves astern

When the vessel moves astern, the position of the pivot point shifts towards the stern.The new pivot point will be about 1/4th of the Length of the vessel from the stern.

pivot_vessel moving astern


 How to make optimal use of pivot point while berthing a vessel?

Consider the following scenario;

When the vessel is berthing and the speed of the vessel is almost zero

In this condition the pivot point almost coincides withe center of gravity.So there will not be any turning force acting on the vessel (provided that the tugs are pulling with the same force).Therefore the vessel moves only laterally in the direction of the tugs pull.

pivot_with tugs pulling_at rest


 While the vessel is berthing with tugs F & A and having sternway

As seen from the previous explanation, while the vessel moves astern, the pivot point moves towards the stern.This shift of the pivot point can be made to advantage.

Let’s assume that both the tugs are pulling with the same force.Since the pivot point has shifted more towards the stern, the effect of the Forward tug will be increased automatically. The reason being that the turning lever for the Forward tug has been increased, because of the shift of the pivot point.

using tugs to advantage

Therefore the action of the forward tug will be dominant over the stern tug.Therefore the bow will move to PORT.