Simpson Marine Search Yachts
3rd April 2024

What Floats Your Boat: How Yachts Stay Afloat in Stormy Seas

A well-designed, oceangoing yacht is built to withstand a wide variety of weather conditions, up to and including violent storms. While there is no such thing as a completely unsinkable vessel, the way modern yachts are designed makes them very difficult to sink. Of course, an experienced sailor would have no problem deliberately scuppering a vessel, but if you and your crew are determined to stay afloat, you will have a very good chance of achieving your aim in a contemporary yacht, even in the worst conditions. But what is it about all successful boat designs that make them seaworthy? In particular, what prevents a boat from sinking, even when faced with towering seas? For the answers to these questions, we invite you to continue reading below.



Today’s blog post is all about what floats your boat, what keeps your vessel afloat when the weather is not as expected.

Generally speaking, two forces are acting on a boat to keep her afloat at any given time:

  • Buoyancy – According to Archimedes’ principle, the upward force (buoyancy) operating on an object placed in water is always equal to the weight of water displaced by that object. Whether this force alone is enough to keep an object afloat depends on its weight and density. A rock, for example, is simply too weighty and dense for buoyancy to be able to overcome gravity and stop it from sinking to the bottom of the ocean. A yacht, on the other hand, is a completely different proposition. Owing to the hollowed-out nature of sailing vessels, the down force exerted by gravity, which is dependent on the total weight of an object, is weaker than the up force that we call buoyancy. Hence, a yacht will float when set on water, assuming it has no leaks and is otherwise seaworthy. So, as long as the designers of your yacht did not make any mistakes with their calculations, it should stay afloat in all kinds of weather conditions. Unless there is a design flaw that causes your boat to take on water or you do something to compromise its seaworthiness, either deliberately or accidentally, there is no reason to fear sinking in the vast majority of weather conditions you are likely to encounter.


  • Seamanship – All elements of your seamanship have the potential to act as either a positive or negative force on the yachts you sail. If, for example, you are a diligent planner and always map out your routes in great detail, you are less likely to encounter unexpected hazards than if you frequently leave things to chance. Captains who always check the daily weather reports are more likely to avoid the conditions that could sink a boat, and if you are generally risk averse, you can expect to enjoy a smoother sailing experience than your more adventurous counterparts on the open seas. It is also a good idea to pay close attention to how weight is distributed around your vessel. Whenever new luggage or cargo is brought onboard, it should be stored in a location that keeps the weight distribution as even as possible.


In addition to excellent planning and organisational skills, you will need to have practical yachting skills too. For example, to minimise the chances of water coming over the sides of your vessel in stormy weather, you should always steer into the waves. If you are aware of and always follow sailing best practices, you’ll be better able to stay out of trouble at sea.


Once you have purchased a yacht or chartered a seaworthy vessel, there is not very much you can do about the first force, except to avoid increasing the total weight of the boat any more than is strictly necessary. As far as the second force is concerned, however, you have a very big part to play. The greater your seamanship, the more finely honed your sailing skills, the easier you will find it to steer a yacht through stormy seas. Ultimately, it is a combination of Archimedes’s principle and your sailing skills that will keep a yacht afloat in rough seas.



If you would like to charter or buy a yacht in Asia, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As a leading brokerage in the area, Simpson Marine is ideally placed to help you acquire a vessel that is not only seaworthy but beautiful to behold and supremely comfortable. We handle the sale and charter of all types of luxury yachts, including brand-new and previously owned vessels. Whatever kind of boat you would like to sail in Asia, we can help you acquire one at a competitive price.

Enquire about this news

Similar News

11th March 2024

How Can I Stay Updated on Weather Forecasts and Maritime Conditions While Sailing in Thailand Waters?

11th March 2024

What Are The Best Times of the Year to Sail in Thailand?

11th March 2024

What are the Specific Regulations for Sailing in Thai Waters with a Foreign-Flagged Vessel?

News, Events & Offers