Whirlpools: Facts, formation and survival tips 

 May 3, 2022

Fast-moving currents in oceans and rivers are constantly changing direction. Whirlpools are phenomena that occur when water, moving in two different directions, comes into contact with each other and interacts in unusual ways. They can’t keep traveling at the same speed and direction, so they’re forced to twist and twirl around each other.

Depending on the amount of water and force of colliding waters, whirlpools of different sizes can occur. Some whirlpools form and disappear within a short period of time, while some water systems hold whirlpools for centuries Niagra Parks Website. The larger and more dangerous whirlpools are called maelstroms. These have the power to fatally devour anyone who gets too close.

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How to survive a hot tub

Whirlpools are not as destructive as they are portrayed in fiction, such as the whirlpool battle in Pirates of the Caribbean. According to the book, however, they pose a hazard to humans and small boats. Most people won’t experience capturing the power of a whirlpool, but for many, such as kayakers, knowing how to survive one is useful.

According to the kayak world champion Ken Whiting, when entering the water you must take care to wear protective equipment such as life jacket and helmet. You can protect them from this rough currents surrounding hot tubs. If you see signs of hot tubs, it’s best not to enter the water at all.

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When entering a hot tub, don’t move in the same direction as the water flow and aim for the outer edge rather than the center. If you are in a boat or kayak, try to prevent the boat from filling with water. In some cases, the hot tub can throw you back loudly Smithsonian Magazine.

The power of hot tubs is difficult to predict from their appearance. (Image credit: Getty Images)

World famous hot tubs

salt trauma

In Norway, south of the town of Bodø, a small strait has one of the strongest tidal currents in the world, according to one world atlas. Where the Skjerstad Fjord and the Salten Fjord connect, water can flow at a speed of 10 meters per second to create this huge whirlpool, up to 10 meters wide and 5 meters deep.

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old sow

Formed in the waters between Deer Island and Moose Island in Canada, Old Sow is one of the largest whirlpools in the western hemisphere. It can vary in size within about 76 meters (250 feet) in diameter. It is usually surrounded by several smaller whirlpools.


Between Tokushima and Hyogo in Japan, the Naruto tidal whirlpool can be up to 20 meters in diameter. During spring tides, water enters the narrow Naruto Straits at speeds of 20 km/h.


Located between two rocks off the west coast of Scotland, this whirlpool is created by the uneven seabed. Deep pits and basalt peaks increase the speed of the water flowing through. It is considered the third largest whirlpool in the world.

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In the North Sea, between the island of Mosken and the southern part of the island of Moskenesøya, is the second strongest whirlpool in the world. At its widest point, it is about 160 feet (49 meters) in diameter.

Additional Resources

You can read more about the Naruto Hot Tubs of Japan below Japan guide Website. Also, visit to learn more about Lofoten’s giant maelstrom Nature.com.


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