The bulbous bow of the U. Navy carrier USS Ronald Reagan made visible in drydock. The bulbous bow of Bulbous bow design pdf Prince of Wales whilst under construction.
The bulb modifies the way the water flows around the hull, reducing drag and thus increasing speed, range, fuel efficiency, and stability. Large ships with bulbous bows generally have twelve to fifteen percent better fuel efficiency than similar vessels without them.
A bulbous bow also increases the buoyancy of the forward part and hence reduces the pitching of the ship to a small degree. Thus, large vessels that cross large bodies of water near their best speed will benefit from a bulbous bow.
This would include naval vessels, cargo ships, passenger ships, tankers and supertankers. All of these ships tend to be large and usually operate within a small range of speeds close to their top speed.
Bulbous bows are less beneficial in smaller craft and may actually be detrimental to their performance and economy. Thus, they are rarely used on tug boats or recreational craft like powerboats, sailing vessels, and yachts.