Physics of Boating Essay

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The first thing you should know is the physics behind a boat, seeing how you can't have a boating adventure without one. To keep it simple, let's check out the main thing you should know about a boat: Buoyancy. Buoyancy, by definition, is the upward force exerted by a liquid on any immersed object. If the force of the liquid on the object is greater than that of the object on the liquid then the object will float. In other words buoyancy is dependent upon the density of the liquid and the volume of the object submerged.


Fb= d*g*V

Where Fb= the magnitude of the buoyant force

d= density of the liquid, g= force of gravity (9.8 m/s^2), V= volume of the submerged object

All object displace fluid when in a liquid, because no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Archimedes principle states that the magnitude of the buoyant force always equals the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

Archimedes Principle


Where Fb= magnitude of buoyant force and Mw= mass of the water displaced.

(Equations taken from Physics for Scientists) Buoyancy can be applied to boats. The combined mass of everything on the boat is less than the force of the fluid acting against it, allowing the boat to float. This is nice. The water is cold.

The wave height is the vertical distance, usually in feet, between the the trough and the crests. The wavelength is the length in feet between adjacent crests. This is one way to measure the size of waves. Another good way to measure the size of waves is by how many people get sick. More than two people means the waves are big.

Enough with waves, lets move on to tides!

"Tides are the longest water waves which occur and have a fundamental period of a...

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...the heat transport into the ice which cuts into it, making it even less stable." (Ice in the Ocean p. 258) Since an iceberg is 89% underwater, the process of erosion can make the berg very unsafe to be around. A change in the distribution of the weight of the berg can cause it to roll and move rapidly through the water.


Serway and Jewett, Physics for Scientists and Engineers. 2004.

Wadhams, Peter. Ice in the Ocean. 2000

Kay, H.F. The Science of Yachts, Wind, and Water. 1971.

Paterson, W.S.B. The Physics of Glaciers. 1994. "How birds Fly" 2005.'_bass.htm#speeda."ReefQuest Center for Shark Research". Martin, Aidan "Humpback Whales" 1997. Kenney, Robert D.

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