Boats have played a significant role in human history as a mode of transport, a means of exploration, and a source of livelihood. But with the ocean being so vast and unpredictable, there have been countless instances of ships and boats meeting an unfortunate fate – shipwrecking. Once a boat has been abandoned or lost, what happens to it over time?
The first thing to note is that the fate of a shipwrecked vessel depends on various factors, such as the type and size of the vessel, the location of the wreckage, and the prevailing weather conditions. In general, however, the sea is an unforgiving environment, and over time, almost all ships that are abandoned at sea eventually succumb to the elements.
The first thing to happen is that the boat will start to take on water, if it hasn’t already. The water can come from waves breaking over it, or from the hull starting to crack and allow water to seep in. Eventually, the boat will begin to sink, and any items that are not securely attached to the ship will fall to the ocean floor.
Once submerged, the ship becomes a new ecosystem unto itself. Marine organisms such as barnacles and seaweed will begin to colonize the hull, and larger marine creatures such as fish and crabs will take up residence. The wreckage will attract scavengers, both animal and human, who will take whatever they can from the ship.
Over time, corrosion and rust will weaken the hull, and eventually, the remains of the ship will begin to break apart. The metal will corrode, the wood will rot, and anything that is not biodegradable will break down into smaller and smaller pieces. What remains of the boat will eventually become part of the ocean floor, covered in sediment and slowly deteriorating.
In very rare cases, a shipwreck may be preserved through being buried in sediment or preserved in cold arctic waters, but for the most part, the ocean is the ultimate graveyard for lost ships.
So? Simply put: nature takes over, and the boat slowly deteriorates, becoming part of the ocean ecosystem. The ocean is a powerful force, and ships that were once mighty vessels are eventually reduced to nothing more than debris at the bottom of the sea.