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Boldrewood towing tank

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About the Boldrewood towing tank

Southampton is home to the largest university towing tank in the UK. 

Our 138-metre tank is available for use by both researchers and and commercial clients - not just for conventional ship model testing, but across the aerospace, energy and transportation sectors.

We support fundamental and applied research in areas such as:

  • fundamental fluid dynamics
  • renewable energies
  • autonomous systems
  • innovative ship design

We have strong links to the marine industry through the Wolfson Unit, which conducts maritime consultancy work for yacht, ship and power boat manufacturers.

Take a virtual tour of the towing tank facilities.

Technical specification


  • length: 138 metres
  • width: 6 metres
  • depth: 3.5 metres


  • aluminium monocoque structure
  • dual cable drive system
  • maximum speed: 10 metres per second


  • Kempf & Remmers propulsion dynamometers
  • Kempf & Remmers 6 components balance

Tow post specification

  • 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


  • 12 elements HR Wallingford wavemaker
  • capable of short and long-crested random wave generation at normal and oblique angle
  • dynamic wave absorption capability

Other systems

  • LaVision underwater PIV
  • Qualisys above water and underwater motion capture systems
  • open water rig for propellers testing
  • Dantec LDA
  • underwater lifting platform (6 by 2 metres) for mooring tests


The towing tank has live video streaming capability


  • metal milling and turning capability
  • 3D printing


Contact us

Get in touch if you're interested in hiring the towing tank or want to know more about it - we're always happy to accommodate visitors.
Towing tank, building 185, Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Southampton SO16 7QF (opens in Google Maps)
We’re open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00 UK time