Rogue Waves and Naval Architecture
You may be surprised to learn that modern naval architecture does not take into account the existence of monster waves, despite their frequently being the cause of shipping disasters.
To recall, throughout most of history, rogue waves were thought to be myths only. When scientists grudgingly admitted to their existence, they also claimed that rogue waves rarely occurred. Even today, not enough data is being collected on them, such that the incidents of their appearance are still in dispute, with figures ranging from as low as ten a year to as high as one or two a week. This lack of consensus is based on limited observations, the use of data grid points that are approximately 15.5 miles apart, and calculations done using incorrect statistical methods. These assumptions on rogue wave frequency affect the way ships, offshore platforms, and coastal houses are designed and built.
For example, ships and platforms, in accordance with international standards, are typically built to withstand waves of no more than 15 meters or 49 to 50 feet from crest to trough. International strength standards also recommend that ships withstand a maximum pressure of 15 tons per square meter or 3,072 pounds per square foot. To give a sense of perspective, a rogue wave may manifest pressures that are 100 tons per square meter, which is 20,480 pounds per square foot. Not even ships 200 - 295 meters (656 - 956 feet) in length are built to withstand forces of this type.
For more information on modern day naval architecture, check out this Bright Hub article on risk based design.