The main deck of a ship is the uppermost complete deck extending from bow to stern. A steel ship's hull may be considered a structural beam with the main deck forming the upper flange of a box girder and the keel forming the lower strength member. The main deck may act as a tension member when the ship is supported by a single wave amidships, or as a compression member when the ship is supported between waves forward and aft.
- Knight, Austin M. (1937). Modern Seamanship (Tenth ed.). New York: D. Van Nostrand Company. p. 31.
- Manning, George Charles (1930). Manual of Naval Architecture. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company. pp. 102&103.