A tsunami is a series of sea waves most commonly caused by earthquakes, volcanic activity, and sub-marine landslides. In the open ocean, a tsunami can travel over 1000 kph – as fast as a jet can fly!  When the waves enter shallow water, they will rise several metres and can rush several kilometres inland across low-lying areas. The first wave is often not the largest, successive waves may be spaced tens of minutes apart and continue arriving for several hours. 


If you are near the coast, there has been an earthquake, and there is a sudden rise or drop in sea level, consider the following: 

  • During the earthquake take cover and hold on – see earthquakes
  • After the earthquake – immediately move to higher ground, when there is no high ground move inland, 
  • Stay away from the coast – damaging waves may continue for hours,
  • Return only after receiving official notification that it is safe – monitor electronic media and weather radios.

If You See The Tsunami Coming 

  • Run as fast as you can – uphill or inland, 
  • Abandon belongings – save your life, not your stuff,
  • Don’t think about your kayak – tsunamis are not surf-able waves – can you say “class 7” 

If You Are Trapped And Unable To Reach High Ground 

  • Be aware – they come onshore as a rapid surge of water filled with nasty debris, 
  • Wear a PFD – can’t hurt!
  • Get to an upper floor or a rooftop of a sturdy building, 
  • Climb up a strong tree.

If Swept Up By The Tsunami 

  • Climb onto something that floats, 
  • Look for something to use as a raft, 
  • Try to grab and climb onto a sturdy tree or building,
  • Try to avoid being crushed by floating debris,
  • Now…I bet you wish you had your kayak!


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