This paper gives an overview of the factors that affect the strength and structural design of advanced thin-walled marine structures with reduced plate thickness or alternative topologies to those used today in the marine industry. Due to production-induced initial deformations and resulting geometrical non-linearity, the classical division between primary, secondary, and tertiary responses becomes strongly coupled. Volume-averaged, non-linear response of structural element can be used to define the structural stress–strain relation that enables analysis at the next, larger, length scale. This, today’s standard homogenization process, needs to be complemented with localization, where the stresses are assessed at the details, such as welds for fatigue analysis. Due to this, the production-induced initial distortions need to be considered with high accuracy. Another key question is the length-scale interaction in terms of continuum description. Non-classical continuum mechanics are needed when consecutive scales are close. Strain-gradients are used to increase the accuracy of the kinematical description of beams, plates, and shells. The paper presents examples of stiffened and sandwich panels covering limit states such as fatigue, non-linear buckling, and fracture.