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University of Southampton Towing Tank

The University of Southampton Towing Tank is a new facility located at the recently opened Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus.

With dimensions of 138 m x 6 m x 3.5 m and a maximum carriage speed of 10 m/s, this world class facility is ideally suited to support teaching, research and commercial clients, not just for conventional ship model testing but across the aerospace, energy, and transportation sectors.


The Towing Tank was designed in-house and built following high standards to be at the forefront of physical testing for many years to come. It features a combination of conventional proven systems as well as the latest technology.

The Towing Tank is the largest University towing tank in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. It supports the following activities within the University:


The Towing Tank is frequently used by Undergraduate students from the Ship Science courses for various hydrodynamics labs as part of their degrees. Students from across the Faculty can also access the Tank as part of their Individual Projects in their 3rd year or their Group Design Projects in their 4th year, as well as MSc students during their summer projects.

PhD students also have access to the facility as part of their research.


The Towing Tank supports fundamental and applied research for various departments across the University and in areas such as fundamental fluid dynamics, renewable energies, autonomous systems or innovative ship design.


The Towing Tank has a strong link to the marine industry through the Wolfson Unit which conducts maritime consultancy work for yacht, ship and power boat manufacturers.

The Tank is also available for hire for external companies, please do not hesitate to contact us for more details.

You can take a virtual tour of the facility here.

You can view the gallery of the Towing Tank below.

Rowing boat tests
Rowing boat tests
FLEUR in waves
FLEUR in waves
Regular waves
Regular waves
Free running kayak tests
Free running kayak tests
Rogue wave
Rogue wave
Effect of rogue waves on a floating wind generator
Effect of rogue waves on a floating wind generator
Freerunning sailing yacht surfing in waves
Freerunning sailing yacht surfing in waves
From the carriage at speed
From the carriage at speed
High-speed carriage
High-speed carriage
KCS standard model
KCS standard model
Sailing yacht in calm water
Sailing yacht in calm water

Main Dimensions

  • Length: 138 m
  • Width: 6 m
  • Depth: 3.5 m
  • Maximum carriage speed: 10 m/s


  • Aluminium monocoque structure
  • Dual cable drive system


  • Tow post
    • Drag range: 0 - 150,500,1000 N
    • Side force range: 0 - 150,500,1000 N
    • Vertical force: not measured
    • Roll moment range: 0 – 30 Nm
    • Yaw moment range: 0 – 40 Nm
    • Pitch moment: not measured
    • Pitch range: +/- 18 degrees
    • Roll range: +/- 45 degrees
    • Pitch: free
    • Roll: free or adjustable fixed
    • Yaw: adjustable fixed
    • Heave: free
    • Surge: fixed
    • Sway: fixed
  • Kempf & Remmers propulsion dynamometers
  • Kempf & Remmers 6 components balance


  • 12 Elements HR Wallingford wavemaker
  • Capable of short and long-crested random wave generation at normal and oblique angle
  • Dynamic wave absorption capability
Wallingford wavemaker capability plot
Wallingford wavemaker capability plot

Misc. systems

  • LaVision underwater PIV
  • Qualisys above water and underwater Motion Capture systems
  • Open water rig for propellers testing
  • Dantec LDA
  • Underwater lifting platform (6 x 2 m) used for mooring tests


  • Live video streaming capability


  • Metal milling and turning capability
  • 3D printing


Here you can find the latest news from the towing tank

Rob Bell

Great British Ships

28/10/2019. The Towing Tank was featured on Great British Ships on Channel 5

Bertrand Malas - Towing Tank Manager

Telephone: +(44)23 8059 1993
Postal address:
Towing Tank, Building 185
University of Southampton
Boldrewood Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, S016 7QF
United Kingdom

How to find the University of Southampton Towing Tank

The Towing Tank is located in Building 185 on the Boldrewood Campus (see campus map below).

Directions to the campus can be found here.

Parking permits are available upon request and two hour parking is available in residential roads nearby.

Map of Boldrewood campus
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