The present paper is concerned with rational design of conventional vessels with regard to bottom damage generated in grounding accidents. The aim of the work described here is to improve the design basis, primarily through analysis of new statistical data for grounding damage. The current regulations for design of bottom compartment layout with regard to grounding damages are largely based on statistical damage data. New and updated damage statistics holding 930 grounding accident records has been investigated. The bottom damage statistics is compared to current regulations for the bottom compartment layout, in an attempt to determine the probability of exceeding the design requirements. Distributions for the extent of damage, such as damage length, height and width, are determined. Furthermore, attempts are made at identifying the governing grounding scenarios and deriving a formula for the relation between the amount of deformed structure and the energy absorption. Finally, the paper shows how damage statistics for existing, conventional vessels can be used together with theoretical prediction methods for determining grounding damage distributions for new vessel types not included in the accident database.