Ever Wondered How Fast Orcas Swim in the Ocean?

Since the release of Blackfish, and perhaps way before, we’ve known that killer whales do not belong in captivity. We are now fully aware of the fact that they can swim more than 100 miles per day in the wild.

However, has it ever occurred to us just how fast an orca whale can actually swim? Blue whales have been recorded swimming up to 29 miles per hour in the ocean, and killer whales have been known to be able to match those same speeds. Watching this video of a pod of killer whales chasing after and playing with this speed boat at such a speedy pace is not only breathtaking, but also heartbreaking as we see just how much whales in captivity are missing out.

This video is a sad reminder of what these majestic animals are capable of, and what they are so cruelly limited to while crammed in small tanks in captivity. Orca whales that are held captive at parks like SeaWorld, are barely afforded enough room to move around properly, let alone to have the same freedom as the whales in this video.

The acts performed by the cetaceans in this video are far more impressive than anything a sea park can force an animal to do in an artificial, sub-par environment. A whale in captivity can never safely swim and leap at high speeds in their tiny enclosures. To know that the orca whale can live such an enriched and fulfilled life in their natural habitat, with their family, swimming at rapid speeds and jumping playfully, and discern that the captive sea animals will never again have that, is just agonizing. What captivity does to killer whales is not just cruel, it is downright humiliating. They are so much more than they are depicted as in the confines of a park’s fish tank.

Parks such as SeaWorld have other options for their business operations that would free the captives and still produce a profit. The fact they SeaWorld is not even entertaining other ideas shows what really matters to the company – and it is not the wildlife. Anyone who watches this video versus a video of an animal at a marine park can clearly see the difference.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Misss D3 years ago

Hello everyone, I have been reading 'Wales for Sale in Puget Sound' about the fight to end orca hunting. On 26th April 1976, 2 killer whales were tagged and then tracked continuously for the next 10 days until their transmitters gave out. This data showed that the whales travelled at an average speed of 2.8 knots (3.22 miles per hour) . Occasionally they swam as fast as 16 knots (18.4mph) but did not sustain that speed for long. They averaged 68 nautical miles (78 miles) a day. As this is an average, there would have been times when they travelled greater distances than this. Three or four short dives showed they breathed for an average of 21 seconds. Longer dives averaged at 5.77 minutes and the longest dive was for 17 minutes.

Lolita, a killer whale kept for 4 decades in a hotel sized swimming pool in Miami Seaquarium (owned by SeaWorld) is related to the whales in this study - which are an endangered population. Her pool is so small that at it's deepest point, it's only about 20 feet deep. As Lolita herself is also about 20 feet long, she can't even up-end properly, let alone dive (or swim any distance).

Lolita needs to be freed, to live with her family in her natal waters.

Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Incredible creatures

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Amazing. What an awesome experience that must have been. Scary but awesome. Guessing the actual speed of an orca would be near impossible because you never know when an orca is actually swimming flat out. My thoughts is 29mph is too slow for their top speed. They are amazing and need to be in the wild.

delilah st louis
delilah st louis3 years ago

Beautiful animals , Thank you for sharing

donnaa d.
donnaa D3 years ago


Angev GERIDONI3 years ago

★ ★ ★ GREAT NEWS ★ ★ ★

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago


3 years ago

Absolutely Amazing !!! How wonderful that must have felt to be that close to such a beautiful creature !!! My heart was pounding just watching the footage !!! Thanks

Alexandra G.
Alexandra G3 years ago

beautiful creatures,!!
they must be free !!