World: Highest Significant Wave Height as measured by Ship Observation

World: Highest Significant Wave Height as measured by Ship Observation

Record Value 18.5 m (60.7ft)
Date of Record 2214 UTC 8/2/2000
Length of Record
Instrumentation Shipborne Wave Recorder MkIV (SBWR)
Geospatial Location British oceanographic research vessel RRS Discovery[57°30'N, 12°42'W, elevation: 0 m)]


Holliday, N.P., Yelland, M.J., Pascal, R., Swail, V.R., Taylor, P.K., Griffiths, C.R. and Kent, E. (2006) Were extreme waves in the Rockall trough the largest ever recorded? Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L05613


Note that this is "significant" wave height -- in essence, what an observer would have seen if he/she averaged over 15-20 waves passing by the ship -- that is a much better thing than "rogue waves" which really cannot be accurately measured. According to one of our of panel's "wave experts": "There have been many more less reliable estimates of rogue waves from other platforms, and from satellite SAR. These are generally unverifiable, since there is no ground truth for the satellite, and the others tend to be from pitching and rolling platforms such as ships, and estimates are often based on damage to the superstructure, which may not have been level at the time." Instrumentation: Shipborne Wave Recorder MkIV (SBWR), Instrument calibrated in September 2000 and found to be accurate with ±1%. Record was evaluated by the committee of T. Peterson, P. Bessemoulin, A. Hines, V. Swail, J-M. Lefevre and R. Cerveny.

Satellite image of Region of Ship Observation

Satellite Image of Region of Ship