There are hardly any methods available for the estimation of the steel weight of inland ships in the earliest design stages. The few weight estimation methods that are available are out of date, limited to a narrow band of main dimensions and not sensitive enough to be used for innovative designs. In this article, which summarizes key results from the PhD thesis of Hekkenberg (2013), new methods are derived for the estimation of the steel weight of inland dry bulk ships. The estimation methods that are presented are derived from large systematic series of computer generated ship designs that comply with Lloyds Register’s rules regarding their structure and with the European rules for freeboard. The structure and weight of these designs are validated by a comparison of modeled scantlings with the scantlings of midship sections of existing ships. Further validation is done by a comparison of the modeled overall steel weight with the steel weight of actual ships and the weight estimates of existing methods. The designs are used to derive two types of estimation methods: the first is a set of simple formulas that are valid for inland ships with common sizes and L/B ratios and the second is a more complex set of formulas that allows estimation of the steel weight of inland ships with draughts ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 m, lengths of 40–185 m, beams of 5–25 m, and L/B ratios of 4–20.