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Encyclopedia > Dead water

Dead Water is the nautical term for a strange phenomenon which can occur when a layer of fresh or brackish water rests on top of more dense salt water, without the two layers mixing. A ship traveling in such conditions may be hard to maneuver or can even slow down almost to a standstill. Much of the energy from the ships propeller only result in waves and turbulence between the two layers of water, leaving a ship capable of traveling at perhaps as little as 20% of her normal speed. For the village on the Isle of Wight, see Freshwater, Isle of Wight. ... Brackish redirects here. ... Annual mean sea surface temperature for the World Ocean. ...


The phenomena was first described by Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian Arctic explorer. Nansen wrote the following from his ship Fram in August 1893 near the Taymyr Peninsula: Fridtjof Nansen Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (born October 10, 1861 in Store Frøen, near Christiania - died May 13, 1930 in Lysaker, outside Oslo) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. ... Fram in Antarctica in Roald Amundsens expedition. ... Taymyr Peninsula is a peninsula in Siberia that forms the most northern part of mainland Asia. ...

  • "When caught in dead water Fram appeared to be held back, as if by some mysterious force, and she did not always answer the helm. In calm weather, with a light cargo, Fram was capable of 6 to 7 knots. When in dead water she was unable to make 1.5 knots. We made loops in our course, turned sometimes right around, tried all sorts of antics to get clear of it, but to very little purpose."

External links

  • Fridtjov Nansens account of 'dead water'
  • Short movie demonstrating the phenomenon with a model
  • Description of Dead Water

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The collision bulkhead in the front end is constructed to withstand heavy strain and shock in case the bow be staved in.
It is strongly constructed and is water tight so that in case of accident causing an inrush of water into the double bottom, the ship would still be able to keep afloat.
Also the distance upon the water a little in advance of the stem; as, a vessel sails athwart the hawse, or anchors in the hawse of another.
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