The Overturning Boat

Most of the time, a capsizing ship is a bad thing. Even listing to one side can be dangerous if done at too steep of an angle. However, for at least one ship, a 90 degree change in orientation is essential to its function. Meet the Office of Naval Research’s RP FLIP or FLIP Research Vessel (Floating Instrument Platform).

This is a fully seaworthy ship, surprisingly constructed over fifty years ago in 1962. The most amazing part though? This 354 ft long ship only needs a crew of five! It has worldwide operating capability but can normally be found near the West Coast of the United States.

Whenever the ships start to flip, the crew and anyone else on deck find themselves running up walls to avoid falling off the ship. It has cleverly constructed features to avoid not having operating difficulties while the ship is vertical:

Officially, the ship is owned and operated by the US Navy, and measures wave height, acoustic signals, water temperature and density. Because of its government connections, it probably is not surprising that it got a $2,000,000 modernization allowance in 1995. Hopefully some of it went into the 90 degree his and her sinks pictured above!


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