What’s a Moonpool?

on November 22, 2013; last featured November 21, 2013

Anyone interested in the topic of Noah’s Ark sooner or later will encounter the term “moonpool.”

Anyone interested in the topic of Noah’s Ark sooner or later will encounter the term “moonpool.” Although the concept has been around a long time, it wasn’t used much until recently with the arrival of drill ships designed for oil exploration.


What is a moonpool? Well, picture a ship with a hole in the bottom of the hull and a wall surrounding the hole all the way up through the top deck—in the Ark’s case, the roof. Water won’t enter the ship because it’s contained inside the moonpool’s walls, moving up and down like a piston as the ship rides the waves.

Why may Noah have put a hole in his ship on purpose? There are several sound engineering reasons.

First, a hole in the bottom of a long ship, as was the Ark, would help relieve hull stress as the vessel crested a wave.

Second, the rising and falling water within the moonpool could be used to draw in fresh air and also extract stale air.

Third, recent research has shown that moonpools induce resistance to movement.1 For Noah’s ship, this may have dampened wave motion, making the voyage more tolerable for man and beast.

Did Noah include a moonpool into the Ark’s design? We can’t be certain, but if the Ark is ever found (doubtful), it will tell us much about man’s engineering ability before the Flood and God’s provision for Noah, his family, and the animals. Until then, you will be able to see a moonpool in action at the future Ark Encounter, south of Cincinnati.

Help us build a full-scale Noah’s Ark! AiG’s part in the Ark Encounter project is raising $24.5 million in donations for an all-wood Ark, the centerpiece and first phase of the whole multi-attraction complex! A finished Ark will be a great testimony to the historicity of the Bible and will proclaim the gospel. For an explanation of the funding of the entire Ark Encounter, go to ArkEncounter.com.


  1. Riaan van ‘t Veer, Haye Jan Tholen, Added Resistance of Moonpools in Calm Water (Proceedings of the ASME 27th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, June 15-20, 2008, Estoril, Portugal).


Get the latest answers emailed to you.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390