We all know that the Navy doesn’t joke when it comes to training and being fit. One way to ensure ultimate training for all situation in order to serve and protects, the US Navy installed a 12-million-gallon, football-field-size pool at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
This interior body of water is the largest wave pool in the world, and makes uses of 216 giant paddles to create waves and conditions of any type that ships might encounter throughout the world. The Navy tests models in the basin to be sure that billion-dollar ships will float before it builds them, but also to assess whether sailors can launch missiles and land helicopters in particular circumstances, and how vessels handle with a full tank versus running on fumes. Pitch, roll, sway, heave, acceleration, displacement—the calculations alone are enough to make you queasy.
Derek Muller, who recently visited the giant indoor ocean said, “This is the biggest wave pool in the world and they can make all kinds of different waves so they can test scale ships and make them better before they actually go out on the open ocean. It is 360 feet long in this dimension, 240 feet long in that dimension. It’s 20 feet deep. Just about the size of a football field out there.”
Derek Muller of Veritasium visited the Naval Service Warfare Center Carderock in Bethesda, Maryland to learn more about how water navigators are trained with an “indoor ocean”. He also explained that the paddles uses frequency to generate waves rather than motion.
“There are lots of wave pools in the world, but what makes this one different is control. You can create waves of a specific amplitude and frequency and do so repeatedly. …They send out high frequency waves first followed by lower and lower frequency waves. And because the high frequency waves travel slower, the lower frequency waves gradually catch up. …The ocean engineers can do this again and again, in exactly the same way, thanks to their precise control over the waves.”