See a Breaching Whale Land Right On Top of a Boat Full of People

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Written by Zeek Lepakko

Updated: November 9, 2023

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Jump humpback whale. Madagascar

Of the many whales in the ocean, the humpback whale may very well be the most musical. Also, these oceanic maestros are not just big — they’re huge! But don’t let their size fool you. They’re also some of the most acrobatic creatures in the sea, known for their spectacular breaches and powerful, slapping tails. As we can see in the video below, these giant swimmers love to perform above water as well.

But it’s not all about the singing and tricks. Humpbacks are also world travelers, making epic migrations between their feeding and breeding grounds each year. They more than earn the stamps in their passports, touring from the poles to the tropics yearly!

Whales have been of increasing significance recently, and rightfully so. We can do our part and learn how to better understand and protect them for future generations. Let’s do just that and find more out about this mysterious musician of the seas.

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Why Do Humpback Whales Breach?

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Humpback whales have unique tail patterns, much like a human fingerprint.

©Tory Kallman/

Even our best marine biologists haven’t quite cracked the code on these whales’ massive airborne feats. Although certainly one of the most beautiful and impressive performances in nature, further research is needed to understand it. A strong possibility for explaining these tricks is that they’re a form of communication. The intended message? It could be a range of things, including mating displays, warnings to others, and marking of territory.

That said, consider the whale seen in the clip jumping about and making a bit of a crash landing. It would make sense if the boats were seen as trespassing into the whale’s territory, and the whale decided to express concern about it. All things considered, other species of whale have been on the rise with targeting boats, which could be for very similar reasons.

What is the Humpback Song?

Humpback Whale, Whale, Underwater, Baleen Whale, Underwater Diving

Each population has its own unique song that changes from year to year.


Let’s face it: humpbacks are famous for their melodies. They’ve been known to sing complex songs that are melodically precise and of notable length. On top of that, each population has its own unique song that changes from year to year. However, just like the shrouded nature of their acrobatics, the purpose of their songs are not yet fully known. Who knows, just like any performing artist, they might just want to share their identity and creativity!

Is it Normal for Humpback Whales to Land on Boats?

Whale tail by boat

While many whales breach, the humpback whale is the species that does so the most.

©Mircea Costina/

There are many theories as to why humpback whales, or any whales, breach. It is thought that perhaps they are trying to get a better understanding of their environment and its surroundings and breaching enables them to see what is going on at the surface. Another thought is that they are doing this to remove parasites from their skin. Regardless of the reason, it appears that while many whales breach, the humpback whale is the species that does so the most.

These whales can grow up to 80,000 pounds and 60 feet in length. When an animal of that size jumps out of the water, they don’t always know where it will land. It may not be intentional to land on a boat, or any other object, but if it stands, or floats, in the way of this behemoth, rest assured, it is more than likely to be slammed into.

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About the Author

Zeek is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering wildlife in Africa and international travel. Zeek has been studying animals for over 15 years and holds an Associate's Degree in Arts from Lone Star Montgomery, earned in 2011. A resident of Washington, Zeek enjoys designing video games and training his Shiba Inu, Cheems.

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