Ship launching is the process of transferring a vessel to the water. It is a naval tradition in many cultures, dating back thousands of years. It has been observed as a public celebration and a solemn blessing.
Ship launching imposes stresses on the ship not met during normal operation, in addition to the size and weight of the vessel, and it represents a considerable engineering challenge as well as a public spectacle. The process also involves many traditions intended to invite good luck, such as christening by breaking a sacrificial bottle of champagne over the bow as the ship is named aloud and launched.
There are three principal methods of conveying a new ship from building site to water, only two of which are called "launching." The oldest, most familiar, and most widely used is the end-on launch, in which the vessel slides down an inclined slipway, usually stern first. With the side launch, the ship enters the water broadside. The third method is float-out, used for ships
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