Minorsky's well-known empirical formula, which relates the absorbed energy to the destroyed material volume, has been widely used in analyses of high energy collision and grounding accidents for nearly 40 years. The advantage of the method is its apparent simplcity. Obviously, its drawback is that the absorbed energy does not depend on the arrangement of the structure, the material properties, and the damage mode.The purpose of the present paper is to establish a new simple relation between the absorbed energy and the destroyed material volume, which can be used as a design tool for analysis of ship collisions and grounding. The developed expressions reflect the structural arrangement, the material properties and different damage patterns.The present method is validated against a large number of existing experimental results and detailed numerical simulation results. Applications to full-sale ship grounding accidents, the bottom raking damage to tankers and the bottom damage distribution for high-speed vessels are also presented. The propesed method may be considered as an improvement of the classical Minorsky method.