Watch 10 of the Largest Waves Ever Caught on Camera, Slamming Ships in the Open Ocean

Written by Sammi Caramela
Updated: October 18, 2023
Share on:

A recent viral video showcased the strength of 10 monster waves and their intense impacts on ships. Each instance showed just how large, powerful, and destructive waves can be. Even massive ships had trouble navigating the enormous swells. 

In fact, one of the videos in the clip showed a cruise ship attempting to sail through a rough storm. As it continues on the water near the coast of France, the deck of the ship gets completely submerged in water, with guests needing to climb to the top of the boat for shelter.

Another clip shows an oil tanker being severely damaged by a large wave. It barely even made it back to its port in one piece. 

You can watch the footage of the cruise ship, the oil tanker, and eight other massive wave events in the video.

Watch the Impressive Footage Below

What Causes a Large Wave to Develop?

Typically, a large wave will develop as a result of wind. Wind-driven waves, also called surface waves, form when the wind disturbs the water’s surface. They tend to be more severe when they develop from hurricanes or other severe weather. These types of waves form all throughout the ocean and tend to intensify the closer they get to land.

Crashing Down

Severe storms are often the catalyst for large waves.

©Oskari Porkka/iStock via Getty Images

Waves can also be caused by underwater disturbances like earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions, though this isn’t as common. These types of tidal waves usually develop into tsunamis, which can be detrimental to the surrounding area and shoreline. 

Most likely, the waves shown in the video below were a result of severe storms that kicked up the wind speed out in the ocean. These can also cause swells of waves that travel across the ocean in different directions and eventually form one huge rogue wave. These can be deadly to sailors.

Can Cruise Ships Survive Massive Waves?

Typically, cruise ships are developed specifically to survive massive waves without any issues. It’s said that they’re built to handle waves of up to 15 feet consistently without issues — and they even can survive a freak wave of up to 50 feet (though it still might cause damage to the ship). 

Since they’re made of heavy steel, it’s unlikely a large enough wave will form to capsize a cruise ship. However, as shown in the video, there have been times when waves have caused havoc on such ships. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Elmer Laahne PHOTOGRAPHY/

Share on:
About the Author

Sammi is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering cats, nature, symbolism, and spirituality. Sammi is a published author and has been writing professionally for six+ years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Writing Arts and double minors in Journalism and Psychology. A proud New Jersey resident, Sammi loves reading, traveling, and doing yoga with her little black cat, Poe.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.