Rogue waves now fact not fiction!
21 July 2004
Once dismissed as a nautical myth, freakish ocean waves that rise as tall as ten-storey apartment blocks have been accepted as a leading cause of
large ship sinkings. Results from ESA's ERS satellites helped establish the widespread existence of these 'rogue' waves and are now being used to
study their power.
The reason I posted this article is that in 1997 I was on my fathers boat about 15 miles off Key West Fla. We were fishing for Yellow tail snapper on
a beautiful December morning. We were at anchor, 30 ft of water right on the edge of the Florida reef in 2-3 foot seas. Like I said a beautiful day!
Fishing was fare, the sky was clear, visability 10 miles. We were at anchor with several other boats spaced about 500 feet apart.
Then all of a sudden, one of the boats sounded its horn, 3 short blast, repeated several times. Well about the time we figured out what was going on
we sat it, a 20 foot wave was comming right at us, we had just enough time to get the boat turned into the wave, but not all the way around. The
wave, before it hit us sucked the boat down and all we saw was water, my dad reached around and cut free the anchor line and the wave hit us on the
bow, port side.
The wave came over the boat and we both held on for our lives, it completly covered the boat and the others around us. The force of the water was
unlike anything I have felt before, it pounded us to the deck and flushed me out into open water.
Things happened so fast there was no time to don floatation devices, once in the water and the wave passed, I grabbed hold of a 100 qt cooler and
looked for my dad, he was still in the boat, battered and bloody.
The boat was swamped, but we were both alive, the emergency bildge pumps kicked on before I made it back to the boat.
My dad helped me back onto the swamped boat and we checked each other over for wounds, nothing to severe! We looked around to assess the situation
and to gathered our composure, the other boaters seemed to be ok as well, wet, but alive.
It was I day I will never forget, we bailed out the boat with chum buckets and with the assist of the boats pumps we were afloat. It took a couple of
hours to get dried out and underway, we lost one motor from hydrolock, and multiple fishing tackle items and coolers were also gone, but we were
The rogue wave that hit us was small in terms of size, but its destructive power was intense and my respect of the ocean and water has been changed