Watch a Ginormous Wave Absolutely Consume and Flip a Boat in Its Path

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: October 22, 2023
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Key Points

  • Surface waves are produced as the wind blows across the water’s surface and disrupts it.
  • A wave will most likely be powerful enough to topple a vessel if it is 60 % of the length of the boat and will have sufficient energy to do so beginning at 30% of its length.
  • High tide will cause bigger waves that are so large they can flip entire vessels.

There’s no denying that nature is incredibly powerful. A video going viral on Twitter shows just how intense things can get on the water when high tide rolls in and creates a ginormous wave. The Moon and its gravitational pull on Earth are responsible for both high and low tides. 

Watch the Full Video Below

Certain parts of the planet, including the land, are subject to extremely slight gravitational pulls from the Moon as the Earth revolves. Water is easier to move around and draws itself in the path of the Moon. Thankfully, the Moon can’t just tug away the land of the Earth with extreme force.

High tide is when the wave’s highest portion, or crest, enters a specific area. Low tide is when the wave’s lowest portion, or trough, hits that exact spot. The term “tidal range” refers to the height variance between high tide and low tide.

How Do Waves Form?

Giant Waves Smashing into Breakwall

Waves often smash into break walls.

©iStock.com/gregkret

The ocean is a cyclical conduit for energy. Surface waves are produced as the wind blows across the water’s surface and disrupts it. The wind’s velocity, duration, and fetch, the distance it travels above the surface, all have an impact on how surface waves are generated.

One form of ginormous wave among several is the surface wave. Some like tsunamis, are caused by earthquakes or landslides that take place underwater. The water is agitated, which produces energy that flows through it. Individual waveforms can be very different with a variety of waves, such as boat wake and tidal waves.

A wave will most likely be powerful enough to topple a vessel if it is 60 % of the length of the boat and will have sufficient energy to do so beginning at 30% of its length. In 1958, an earthquake in Alaska’s Lituya Bay set off a chain of events that led to a megatsunami. 

A home flipped on its side due to the The 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

In addition to boats, tsunamis can also flip houses.

©mTaira/Shutterstock.com

The megatsunami was between 100 and 300 feet tall, but the breaking wave that followed was far larger. It began to move across the length of the T-shaped Lituya Bay, reaching a height of 1,720 feet around the Gilbert Inlet, where it obliterated everything in its path.

Can Waves Flip Boats?

The waves will become flatter and less strong as the low tide draws near. High tide will cause bigger waves. So large, in fact, they can flip entire vessels. It is supposed that the likelihood of it flipping is less if the boat is bow or stern onto the wave, but that wasn’t the case here. The aforementioned Twitter video shows a large ship sitting idle as a massive wave rolls in.

Within seconds, the ship is completely flipped upside down and damaged beyond repair. At the time of writing this, we’re unsure whether the passengers on board were injured during this occurrence. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Christopher R Mazza


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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