Abstract The following work is based on the age-old Archimedes’ principle of submerged bodies. Today, many discussions and papers exist on submersion. It shows that the submerged weight parameter cannot be directly incorporated into the design process. In this paper the diameter-to-wall-thickness ratio has been identified as the constraint variable in the optimization process, and has appropriately been used in describing properties of submerged cylinders in seawater. Simple dimensionless equations, in terms of diameter-to-wall-thickness ratio have been developed and used to compare the behavior of many coated and uncoated shell sections, in empty and water-filled conditions. This presentation of the properties of submerged cylindrical shells demonstrates how the idea formulated millennia ago can be configured to yield new results benefiting the offshore industry.