The boat that sinks on purpose

One thing you hope never happens to you at sea is that your boat capsizes. But this ship has flipped over hundreds of time and has always survived.

bizarre boat

This bizarre boat is known as a Floating Instrument Platform or FLIP for short. Its a ship that can literally stand on its head.  This is the only ship in the world that can do this. The question is why?

FLIP is a marine research vessel, owned by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When upright FLIP is almost entirely stable – even in the roughest weather. A 30 foot wave will only move FLIP up and down 3 feet.That’s because approximately 300 feet of it is way below any surface swell. Perfect for oceanographers like Luke Lenain whose speciality is waves.

“My particular interest is to understand how the waves affect this exchange of energy between the ocean and the atmos and the only way you can do this properly is by being able to sample the ocean right near the surface without being affected by the motion of the platform you’re using,” says Luke.

bizarre boatThe ship’s shape resembles a giant baseball bat. To start the flip, the bow tanks are flooded with water and air pumped into the stern tanks – the whole process takes just half an hour.

The boat that sinks on purpose

“Flip is really designed for vertical position so most of furniture, the galley equipment, the beds are set up on hinges and can rotate when we go through the whole flipping process,” says Luke.

There is one problem with the boat –  it has no engine, as it could interfere with highly sensitive acoustic equipment on board…which means it has to be towed everywhere.

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