Watch: this ship made a wake that sent beachgoers to the hospital and the captain is under investigation

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The captain, a former Air Force pilot, could not be reached for comment.

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It was hard to get a sense of the scale of that video at first. It seemed like that smallish ship wasn’t really going that fast until you realize the tiny dots on the beach are people.


Makes me wonder how deep the water was. That boat seemed way too big to be that close to the beach.


I feel like he was trying to help the kids have fun in waves… They’re all running up excitedly following the wave.

I feel like this was probably a normal person with good intentions but lapse in judgement.


@frauenfelder I think that you posted about the following situation a while back:

The notes say: “Since publication of this footage, shipping traffic has been slowed to proper speeds and monitored”

Hopefully the beach incident will get the same attention.


The point of land may have been artificially created by those fences.

Let me guess: you probably love the “fly by” scene in Top Gun, right?


I thought the next ship back was even too close!

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Difficult call. The ship didn’t appear to have much way on and moving away from the beach would have meant crossing the bow of the other ship. That maneuver would have needed to start far back along the track in order to allow for sufficient room, although with AIS and bridge-to-bridge they could have coordinated it. I’d need to see the charts, though. May be that they were both constrained by the channel or he just got squeezed in by the smaller vessel.


I find this fascinating. Fluid dynamics for the win (loss?).

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Watch again, following the trajectory of the people. See where the groups of people congregate around injured people - then back up and see how the running people reach those groups.

I’m pretty sure they’re not running delightedly toward the wave but in alarm toward the vulnerable swimmers who aren’t going to be able to make it out of the wave in time.


The water was deep enough, but they probably shouldn’t run commercial maritime traffic so close to a swimming beach.

It’s like having a highway right beside a playground. “90% of the time it’s good 100% of the time.”

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There are what looks like channel markers buoys. He probably came in a bit closer to keep clear of the other ship, but still within the markers. Perhaps a bit fast?


They use fairly mindless electronic charting, so I’m sure they’re legal, position-wise, if not speed-wise. (Eventually, most of these transport ships are going to be drones, and they’re most of the way there.)

But whoever originally allowed the lane to cut so close to swimmers wasn’t doing it with safety in mind.


Idk about the Netherlands but commercial shipping here in US should be running between buoy/channel markers and should not be operated in a way that could create waves that would affect swimmers on a beach.

In fact, the ferry I used to take had to slow down at a certain outer buoy/channel marker, not bec of swimmers, but bec noncommercial boating using the same channel, some of it sailboats. We also slowed going out and coming in because of slower-moving harbor commercial craft (like tugs and dredges), in addition to other types of traffic.

Hard to believe this would be safe operation in the Netherlands tbh.

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I’m going to take comfort from the sight of all the people running to help. At least they outnumber one asshole captain.


I don’t think the Captain is the villain except to the extent he is ultimately responsible for his vessel’s wash. The tide height left that flat shelf so the surge didn’t empty back out to the channel. Note that the surge stays with and is then ahead of the leading bow waves.

It wasn’t going particularly fast, and if it was further out the same thing could have happened. But he ship was high in the water and its bow bulb wasn’t immersed sufficiently to cancel the wash.

I’m thinking this has happened before hence the fences to take some of the energy out of the wash. That area looks lousy with ships, so perhaps the lifeguards need to clear the wash zone when conditions set up like this.

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