It is difficult to support collaborative design with a conventional ship CAD system that manages design information using files. The file storage, however, can be replaced with a commercial database management system. This paper describes OpenDIS, which is an interface between the geometric modeling kernel and the DBMS. The main purpose of OpenDIS is to implement a CAD system that has the STEP database as the native storage. A prototype CAD system has been implemented using the OpenCascade geometric modeling kernel and ObjectStore, a commercial object-oriented DBMS. The STEP methodology is used for the database schema. This CAD system has been applied to the hull design process of a ship in order to verify the usefulness of the interface. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.