15 Best Quotes About Rough & Stormy Seas

Many of us are going through difficult times right now and this list of quotes about the sea is intended to encourage and inspire you.

There are hundreds of rough seas quotes and this list picks out just 15 of the best. In most quotes about the ocean, the water is a metaphor for life. Just as the sea can be calm or rough with ups and downs, so can our lives. It’s how we deal with it that makes the difference to the outcome.

Of course, you might draw your own rough sea meaning from these quotes…so see how they make you feel.

Rough Sea

The Best Rough Sea Quotes

We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an early 20th century English author. In this quote, the ‘stormy sea’ is a metaphor for the struggles that life presents to us. Just like a rough sea, challenges in life are neither predictable nor in our control.

‘In the same boat’ means that er all face the same struggles. The people in the boat could be a family, a team of colleagues, a subset of society (such as parents if young kids), or, if you step back far enough, the whole of civilisation.

The phrase ‘terrible loyalty’ seems a bit odd, because ‘terrible’ usually means something bad. However, in this context, it means something more like ‘inescapable’. Because life is rough and we’re all in it together, we have no option but to co-operate and show each other kindness.

A rough day at sea is better than any day in the office.


This is a quote that is particularly relevant to people who enjoy cruising. Even if the seas are rough, the ship cannot dock and your excursions are cancelled, it’s still better than your best day at work!

Rough seas make stronger sailors. Tough times build greater people.

Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma is a Canadian writer, best known for his The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari book series. The meaning of this rough seas quote is obvious – it’s that adversity is character-building.

Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough or rigid. But in the end, it is always beautiful.


Just as in many inspirational quotes about the sea, here the ocean is a metaphor for life. It serves to remind us that even in the most difficult of times, life itself is something to be cherished.

The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven about by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther was a 16th-century German professor of theology. This quote is often incorrectly attributed to the civil rights movement activist with a similar name – Martin Luther King Jr.

The Bible often refers to heaven as having four corners and four winds, just like the ‘four corners of the Earth, these are thought to be north, south, east and west.

This quote highlights how our plans and desires can frequently change direction, just like a ship on rough seas when the wind blows in every direction.

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What world lies beyond that stormy sea I do not know, but every ocean has a distant shore, and I shall reach it.

Cesare Pavese

Cesare Pavese was an Italian author and poet. This quote means that if you keep on working, you will reach your goals eventually. Just as every ocean has a shore, every challenge has an end. It highlights the importance of perseverance, even in difficult times.

Family is a life jacket in the stormy sea of life.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is a British author, best known for the Harry Potter series. This quote is from the third book of the series: ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.

This wonderful quote about stormy seas highlights the importance of family in keeping us afloat during the most difficult times.

Who sail on stormy seas;

And that’s the way I get my bread –

A trifle, if you please.

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll is the pen-name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgeson, the English writer best known for the Alice in Wonderland books.

This quote comes from the song “Haddocks’ Eyes”, which was sung by The White Knight from Carroll’s novel ‘Through the Looking Glass’. You can read the full lyrics here.

Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors.


While the origin of this quote about life’s roughest storms is not known, the meaning is clear. We often do not know just how strong we are until we are tested.

But where, after all, would be the poetry of the sea were there no wild waves?

Joshua Slocum

Joshua Slocum was the first person to sail single-handedly around the world. His book, ‘Sailing Alone Around the World‘ became an international best-seller.

The sea features in countless poems. But if it were flat as a lake, would it be such an interesting subject? In this quote about rough sea, the sea could be a metaphor for life and how the ups and downs make it more noteworthy.

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity, too great for the eye of man.

William Blake

William Blake was a 19th-century English poet and painter. This quote is an excerpt from his book ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell‘ in which Blake expresses his own romantic and revolutionary beliefs.

In this quote ‘too great for the eye of man’ refers to God. It means that we should not blame ourselves for everything that occurs, as Blake believed that some things are the work of God.

Ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. So set sail on the stormy sea of love. You’re going to get soaked at times, but at least you’ll know you’re alive.

Dan Millman

Dan Millman is an American author and personal development lecturer.

The famous quote about ships being safe in a harbour means that it’s better to get out and do the things that you want to do rather than sit and do nothing. Even if you fail, at least you’ll have tried and you’ll have learned something in the process.

The courage to press on regardless – regardless of whether we face calm seas or rough seas, and especially when the market storms howl around us – is the quintessential attribute of the successful investor.

John C. Bogle

John C. Bogle was an American business magnate and investor. This quote encourages us to carry on through the most difficult of times.

Great sea captains are made in rough waters and deep seas.

Kathryn Kuhlman

Kathryn Kuhlman was an American evangelist who was known for hosting healing services. This quote means that hard times shape us into becoming better people. We learn a lot from our misfortunes and life’s challenges help us to improve.

No matter how rough the sea, I refuse to sink.


We’ll finish this list of quotes about rough seas with this one which offers a great mantra to live by. No matter how bad times get, we should refuse to let things get us down.

Do you have a favourite of the stormy sea quotes? Do any strike a chord, with the metaphor of rough seas meaning something specific to you?

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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