Wave piercing bow

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Wave Piercing Bow

A wave piercing bow

A wave piercing bow is a bow shape designed to limit reaction and motions to passing through waves. This can be accomplished by limiting buoyancy and waterplane area forward. As a result, wave-piercing hulls tend to be long, slender, often with tumblehome and limited freeboard at the forward extremity.


  • Longer waterline length and sharp entry provide favourable resistance characteristics
  • Pitching in a seaway is reduced, as waves have lower effect at the forward extremity.


  • Limited bouyancy reduces cargo capacity
  • Stability is limited by the minimal waterplanes forward; this could be particularly so if combined with a transom stern in a following sea (rapid stern lift could quickly reduce the righting arm, a potential capsize situation). Many wave-piercing vessels are also catamarans for this reason.
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