Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Gloucester, Mass. USA
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When a boat is floating, it displaces an amount of water which weights exactly equal to the weight of the boat. Hence the term: Displacement.
As far as Gross Tonnage, that figure would reference the displacement of the vessel AND the weight of the cargo the vessel can carry. That figure is used in documenting a vessel.
For more information on that aspect, check out: www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/vdoc/nvdc.htm