When a vessel has negative metacentric height (GM) i.e., is in unstable equilibrium, any external force applied to the vessel will cause it to start heeling. As it heels, the moment of inertia of the vessel's waterplane (a plane intersecting the hull at the water's surface) increases, which increases the vessel's BM (distance from the centre of Buoyancy to the Metacenter). Since there is relatively little change in KB (distance from the Keel to the centre of Buoyancy) of the vessel, the KM (distance from Keel to the Metacentre) of the vessel increases.
At some angle of heel (say 10°), KM will increase sufficiently equal to KG (distance from the keel to the centre of gravity), thus making GM of vessel equal to zero. When this occurs, the vessel goes to neutral equilibrium, and the angle of heel at which it happens is called angle of loll. In other words, when an unstable vessel heels over towards a progressively increasing angle of heel, at a certain angle of heel, the centre of buoyancy (B) may fall vertically below the centre of gravity (G). Angle of list should not be confused with angle of loll. Angle of list is caused by unequal loading on either side of centre line of vessel.
It is often caused by the influence of a large free surface or the loss of stability due to damaged compartments. It is different from list in that the vessel is not induced to heel to one side or the other by the distribution of weight, it is merely incapable of maintaining a zero heel attitude.
- Kemp, "The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea", 1976, p. 494
- "Stability Calculations - Estimating Centre of Gravity". Maritime & Coastguard Agency. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
- "Definition - angle of loll". Maritime Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
- "Stability Definitions". MCA Orals. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-24.