Naval Architecture & Noah’s Ark

“And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it:the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth…”                             – Genesis 6: 13 – 19


1.  The Flood that came upon the world in the day of Noah was the worst “natural” catastrophe the world has ever seen

  • The great mountain ranges we see in the world today are Post-Flood – they come about as a result of plate tectonics, and pressure of the water upon ocean floors
  • Yet, the Bible clearly states that the water covered the highest mountains by at least 15 cubits (or 22.5 feet)
  • Such a worldwide Flood would have seen a tremendous deluge of water the remnants of which can be seen today in the form of the world’s vast oceans
  • The cataclysmic water action during the Flood would have been tremendous
  • As a result, the Ark would have to have been made to withstand tremendous pressure

2.  The Ark’s dimensions as laid out in Scripture are 300 cubits long by 50 cubits wide by 30 cubits high

  • If a cubit is roughly 18 inches, then the dimensions are 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high

3.  In 1993, research was carried out by naval architects and structural engineers at the Korean Research Institute of Ships and Engineering

  • “A Creationist group in Korea (KACR) approached a world class ship research center (KRISO) to analyze the Biblical Ark. Starting with the proportions given in the Bible, the KRISO team set about to compare it with 12 alternative “Arks” with different proportions. By combining the requirements for stability (capsize resistance), comfort (seakindliness) and strength (hull stress), they found that is was not possible to make much improvement on the Biblical Ark.” 1
  • Their research determined that an Ark with a 30:5:3 set of proportions was optimal for:
    • Carrying Cargo
    • Survivability (i.e., seaworthiness for horrific wave activity)
  • They also determined that a craft with dimensions of 450 feet by 75 feet by 45 feet could easily withstand sustained wave activity of around 90 feet
  • The craft however was sub-optimal for speed 2

4.  Other research has concluded that it would be nearly impossible for the boat to capsize

  • It would basically have to be at 90 degree angle 3

5.  One additional item has been provided for your consideration:

  • Many Christian and Apologetics based ministries will often refer to an event that took place In 1609
  • At Hoorn in Holland, a ship was built after that same pattern (30:5:3) of the Ark that is said to have revolutionized ship-building
  • This same scale became the rough dimensions of ocean going vessels for the next 300 years
  • These ministries will often say that this has been verified by “Lloyd’s Register of Shipping” in the World Almanac
  • To date, I have not been able to verify that the World Almanac that makes such a reference 4


6.  The Ark is probably the most studied boat of history (although who knows, the fascination with the Titanic sure seems to rival it)

7.  For the uninitiated, they erroneously presume the Ark could never have carried all of the world’s land life within its hull

  • The fact is that a ship with the Ark’s dimensions would contain an internal volume of 1,518,750 cubic feet
  • This is the equivalent of 569 standard railroad boxcars
  • This means the Ark could hold over 125,000 sheep if necessary
  • Assuming the shape of the Ark to be rectangular, there would have been over 100,000 sq. ft of floor space 5

8.  The Number of animals taken on to the Ark can be reasonably determined

  • Only air-breathing animals needed passage – the aquatic life would be taking care of just fine in the Flood waters

9.  Authorities on taxonomy estimate that there are between 18,000 and 20,000 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians living in the world today

  • Remember, you don’t need to take every dog on the Ark, just two of each species 6

10.  Science Magazine in November of 2002 produced a study with the following findings:

  • “The origin of the domestic dog from wolves has been established … we examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation among 654 domestic dogs representing all major dog populations worldwide … suggesting a common origin from a single gene pool for all dog populations.”
  • Most likely Noah took two wolves aboard the Ark – they became the ancestors for all of the dogs seen in the world today 7

11.  If you allow for there being double the amount of species at the time of the Flood (we know for example that many species are no extinct – e.g., dinosaurs), you are left with 40,000 species or 80,000 animals

  • Research cited above has already demonstrated that up to 125,000 sheep could be carried easily on the Ark
  • Most animals however are smaller than the average housecat
  • And you would not have taken full-grown animals if you could avoid it 8

12.  In short, the naval architecture behind the Ark is just right when one performs a feasibility study upon it

13.  For an excellent site on Ark engineering, I would suggest visiting: