The principal disciplines of naval architecture are:

1. Hydrostatics

Hydrostatics concerns the conditions to which the vessel is subjected to while at rest in water and its ability to remain afloat. This involves computing buoyancy, displacement, center of gravity, center of buoyancy, and other hydrostatic properties.

  • Trim — The measure of the longitudinal inclination of the vessel. 
  • Stability — The ability of a vessel to restore itself to an upright position after being inclined by wind, sea, or loading conditions.

2. Hydrodynamics

Hydrodynamics concerns the flow of water around the ship's hull, bow, stern; and over bodies such as propeller blades or rudder; or through thruster tunnels.

  • Resistance — Resistance towards motion in water primarily caused due to flow of water around the hull. Powering calculation is done based on this. 
  • Propulsion — To move the vessel through water using propellers, thrusters, water jets, sails, etc. Engine types are mainly internal combustion. 
  • Ship motions — Involves motions of the vessel in seaway and its responses in waves and wind. 
  • Controllability (maneuvering) — Involves controlling and maintaining position and direction of the vessel

3. Structures

Structures involves selection of material of construction, structural analysis of global and local strength of the vessel, vibration of the structural components, and structural responses of the vessel during motions in a seaway.

4. Arrangements

Arrangements involves concept design, layout and access, fire protection, allocation of spaces, ergonomics, and capacity.

5. Construction

Construction depends on the material used. When steel or aluminum is used this involves welding of the plates and profiles after rolling, marking, cutting, and bending as per the structural design drawings or models, followed by erection and launching. Other joining techniques are used for other materials like fiber-reinforced plastic and glass-reinforced plastic.