How to survive a tsunami

This is How to Survive a Tsunami (4 Life-Saving Tips)

Note that this post contains affiliate links and we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you buy something.

Surviving a tsunami is a challenge that will test all your survival skills and your ability to mitigate any crises and take effective preventive measures. Unfortunately, most people are not prepared to face such a disaster and many fall victim to tsunamis. In this sense, how to survive e tsunami?

  • First, be aware that it’s coming your way
  • After that find a high ground of at least 100 feet above sea level

In essence, it is crucial to reach higher ground as soon as possible before the catastrophe occurs.

This requires you to pay close attention to warnings and signs!

And if you fail to do any of this, then just make sure to grab onto a piece of floating debris and pray to the Lord that you make it out alive!

What is a Tsunami?

The term tsunami stands for a series of waves in a water body (typically oceans) that are caused by the displacement of huge amounts of water, mainly triggered by earthquakes.

This is a natural hazard capable of inflicting grave bodily harm, infrastructural damages and even the deaths of many people.

As the waves rise up and start flowing out, the tsunami builds up very quickly.

This leads to massive flooding that disrupts the water supply and dismantles communication, transportation and the power grids

The waves are around 10-100 feet high and they travel at the speed of 20 to 30 miles per hour.

If you live across the coasts bordering the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean, or anywhere near the U.S. coastlines, your community has the highest risk for a tsunami.

So stay alert if you live anywhere near those areas!

Earthquakes are what Typically Triggers Tsunamis!

In most cases, a tsunami is triggered due to an earthquake close to the seafloor, which causes massive amounts of water to become displaced.

Then, a series of waves rise, pushing the water outwards and in all directions.

But tsunamis are also triggered by massive landslides, meteorites and underwater volcanic eruptions.

It can be hard to spot a tsunami heading your way because even though the waves travel at the speed of a bullet train, they are not high enough to be visible.

However, as they approach land, their speed drops to 20 or 30 miles per hour, and they start growing taller.

How to Survive a Tsunami – Before & During One!

And now will discuss how to survive a tsunami with essential survival tactics and effective mitigation.

This is what to do in 4 steps i.e. during the following 4 stages associated with a tsunami situation.

How to survive a tsunami, tsunami hitting a city

1. How to Prepare for a Tsunami Ahead of Time

It is crucial to be prepared to face a tsunami before it even happens.

Especially if you live near a coastal area, as it is vital to understand the risk factors and warning signs associated with this disaster.

For instance, some warning signs that might point to a tsunami heading your way include:

  • Loud roar-like sound from the ocean
  • Sudden draining or rise in ocean waters
  • Earthquake/s

If you live in a high-risk community, research any community evacuation plans for your area and practice them with your family.

Consider choosing shelters that are more than 100 feet above sea level and at least one or two miles away from the coast.

Devise a family emergency plan for evacuation and designate an out-of-state contact so you can communicate easily if separated during the disaster.

Be sure to sign up for all the local and federal warning services, such as the weather radio to gain emergency alerts and tsunami warnings in advance.

It would also be wise to invest in a flood and earthquake insurance policy if you live near or within a coastal area.

How to survive a tsunami, waves hitting the shore

2. What to do When You Hear a Tsunami Warning

When your seaside community is under a tsunami warning, you’d be wise to follow these steps:

  1. First and foremost, prepare yourself for an earthquake by dropping down and taking cover. Wait for the catastrophe to pass before you come out
  2. The next step is to travel to higher ground, as farther away from the sea as possible (each foot upward or inland matters)
  3. Pay close attention to the signs and warnings. For instance, a sudden reduction in ocean waters or a sudden rise in sea levels
  4. As you travel, pay close attention to news alerts and emergency information.

What about an ‘Evacuate Immediately’ Scenario? 

In such a situation, your only priority should be saving your life and those of your immediate family and loved ones.

As soon as you spot the signs or receive official warnings, evacuate without any hesitation as every second count.

And if you are in a boat or yachting while the warning signs begin to emerge, go out to sea instead of returning to the shores.

What to Look for When Trying to Spot an Incoming Tsunami?

Note that most tsunamis are no more than 10 feet tall when they reach the land, but their height can reach up to 100 feet and more as they continue traveling.

When a tsunami hits the ground, all communities within a mile’s distance of the sea and 25 feet above sea level are the most vulnerable and high-risk spots.

The water is relentless and it continues to build up and travel forward, at times flowing up to 10 miles away from the sea.

In some cases, it resembles a flood that keeps rising.

While in others, it could look like a massive wall of water, traveling at an astonishing speed.

The flow is stormy and turbulent, and it doesn’t take much time to flow onto the shores.

How to survive a tsunami, galle fort Sri Lanka

3. What to do During a Tsunami?

When an earthquake occurs within a high-risk tsunami area, it is crucial to survive the earthquake first and then focus on evacuating.

This is what you have to do when the earthquake hits:

  1. Take cover
    Note: Consider crawling underneath sturdy furniture and hold onto a fixture until the shaking ceases.
  2. Drop down on all fours
  3. Use your arms to cover your head and neck

Once the earthquake stops, if your community has signaled any warnings or if you spot any natural signs across the ocean, evacuate immediately.

Your goal will be relocating to a safe place as high and as far away from the sea as possible.

If you spot signs of unusual sea behaviors, do not wait for the authorities to give evacuation orders – simply evacuate right away.

And if you are traveling to a tsunami hazard zone, stop as soon as you receive a warning.

Now, if the local authorities tell you to leave, consider traveling to higher ground.

But if you end up in the water, tightly grab onto a door, tree trunk, raft, or anything that is sturdy and that floats.

Lastly, if you are in a harbor, move inland and if you are boating, follow the direction of the waves and move towards the sea.

How to survive a tsunami, tsunami aftermath

4. What to do Once the Tsunami Passes?

Once the tsunami has passed and you have reached safety, it is crucial to undertake several precautions to be safe after the disaster.

  • Avoid stepping in floodwater and mitigate the risk of electrocution as tsunamis can cause significant electrical damage.

Downed power lines and underground circuits can charge the water, potentially triggering life-threatening hazards.

  • Steer clear of damaged infrastructure and roads, and avoid entering your property until the authorities clear it.

Be sure to document all the damages with photographs and check your inventory before contacting your insurance provider.


Although tsunamis can be rather unpredictable, now you know the basics associated with knowing how to survive a tsunami!

The most essential survival aspects that you can rely on are:

  1. Being aware that it’s coming your way by observing certain signs or listening to the authorities
  2. Getting to a high ground that’s 100 feet above sea level as a bare minimum

Don’t forget that being prepared is always the go-to method for any survival scenario, including natural disasters.

Now, have you ever faced a tsunami?

Or do you live near the coast, somewhere in a tsunami hazard zone?

Drop your answer as a comment below!

Evelyn - atlantic survival gear
+ posts

Evelyn Claire, a young and adventurous spirit fueled by her unwavering passion for the outdoors and survival. From an early age, she was captivated by nature's beauty, and her thirst for exploration knows no bounds.

Evelyn's love for the wilderness extends beyond admiration. She has dedicated herself to mastering survival skills, from building shelters to foraging for food. Fearless and determined, she embarks on thrilling expeditions, conquering rugged terrains and embracing the challenges that come her way.

As an advocate for environmental stewardship, Evelyn strives to protect and preserve the landscapes she cherishes. Through her inspiring journeys and responsible outdoor practices, she encourages others to connect with nature and discover their own inner strength.

Evelyn Claire stands as a beacon of inspiration for young women seeking adventure and a deeper connection with the natural world. Join her on an unforgettable journey of discovery, self-reliance, and the boundless beauty that awaits in the great outdoors.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top