The Most Dangerous Seas to Sail in the World

Ever wondered where the sea gets its fearsome reputation from? We certainly have, which is why we’ve put together this list of the most dangerous seas to sail in the world. Sailing is challenging at the best of times, but when you throw in the sorts of treacherous conditions found in the world’s wildest waters, it’s nothing short of terrifying! So let’s take a look at the most dangerous seas to sail in the world, and how they’ve earned their reputations.

The South China Sea

South China Sea

The South China Sea may not be at the top of your list of dangerous seas to sail. After all, conditions in the South China Sea are generally quite mild and equatorial. But when typhoon season sweeps across South East Asia, those conditions can change quickly. The South China Sea is home to ferocious seasonal typhoons, and they move quickly, with avoiding them often impossible. The weather isn’t the only thing to worry about, though. In various parts of the South China Sea, pirates are known to operate, and they generally target smaller recreational vessels, or easily accessible cargo vessels. To top it off, there is also a history of geopolitical tension in the region! Turns out the dangers of sailing include more than just the weather…

The South Pacific 

South Pacific

Where the South Pacific meets the Atlantic, you’ll find what is widely regarded as the roughest patch of water in the all the oceans of the world: Drake’s Passage. Drake’s Passage is named after the iconic historical mariner Sir Francis Drake, and it boasts waves of up 15m in height, which is around four stories. Below you is almost five kilometres of depth, too, which gives sinking ships little hope.

So why is Drake’s Passage so ferocious? The answer to that is a combination of wind and current. Below the surface, you’ve the warm Pacific waters meeting the cold Atlantic waters and creating powerful undercurrents, upwellings, and even maelstroms. Above the surface, you have arctic winds exceeding 100km/h. Combined, that makes for some difficult conditions to say the least.

Australia’s own Arafura Sea

The Arafura Sea lies to the north of Australia’s peak, and it boasts generally pleasant tropical conditions. You can expect heat, humidity, and the odd cyclone, but usually nothing too challenging in terms of waves. So far it’s not sounding too dangerous, right? Well, let’s talk about what lies in the water! The Arafura Sea is home to lethal jellyfish, innumerable sharks, and even crocodiles, and the sea is bordered by some of the most remote waters and coasts in the world. Then, to top it all off, there are shallow channels, straits, rocks, and tides that routinely exceed six meters. Needless to say, getting through the inshore Arafura takes a bit of experience.

The Indian Ocean 

Indian Ocean

Finally, let’s look at one of the biggest and most dangerous seas to sail in the world: the Indian Ocean. To its north lies Asia, to the east Australia, and to the west Africa. In the middle lies an ocean spanning some 20% of the Earth’s watery surface. If you plan on sailing the Indian Ocean, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul. It’s not uncommon for smaller vessels to strike trouble in the Indian Ocean, simply on account of its sheer size and remoteness. And if you find trouble in the middle, help is a long way away. When it comes to sailing the most dangerous seas in the world, a well-maintained ship is paramount, along with more than adequate supplies, communication equipment, and safety gear.

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