If You See Square Waves in the Ocean, Get Out Immediately

Of the many dangers in the ocean and one that doesn’t get talked about much is cross waves. Beautiful to look at, these waves form watery grids that are referred to as "cross seas." They can also spell trouble for ships, surfers, and swimmers who get caught in their crosshairs. If you’ve ever seen a cross sea in real life or through images, you’ll notice they look like a square pattern that has formed on the ocean’s surface. That’s the result of two sets of wave systems blending with each other at differing angles. A distinguishing feature of these waves is that the angles are typically greater than 45 degrees. How does this even happen? In cases of cross seas, the conditions are made just right when two different weather systems meet up under the sea and their winds cause the wave grids to form. What lurks beneath that amazing sight are currents that can wreck ships and pose a threat to people in the water. Scientists believe that such occurrences may play a role in boating accidents and shipwrecks. Deemed stronger than riptides, the waters where these patterns emerge are incredibly difficult to navigate, whether you’re in a vessel or swimming. It’s best to observe them from afar. So, if you see water like this, don’t paddle into it, don’t swim in it, and don’t try to take a selfie in it. It will be extremely difficult to disentangle yourself from the waves, and the principles that apply to escaping rip currents may not help you. The ocean is full of wonders, but there are some things we should only enjoy from the comfort of the shore.