Thalassophobia is a persistent and intense fear of deep bodies of water such as the ocean or sea. What makes this phobia different than aquaphobia — the fear of water in general — is the fact that it centers on vastness, darkness, and depth. People who have this condition are not terrified of getting wet, but rather the might and mystique behind the waves.

While thalassophobia is not recognized as a distinct disorder by the DSM-5, the diagnostic manual of mental disorders used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, it's still relatively common. And the subreddit of the same name is a vivid example of that. Created in June 2013, it unites 969,000 thalassophobes, sharing triggers and discussing symptoms.

So, in an attempt to shed some light on this community, we at Bored Panda decided to put together a list of their most popular posts.

Online groups that get this big often suffer from huge streams of content that flood them with questionable pictures and videos, diminishing the overall experience of browsing them, but this subreddit manages to stay clean. Part of it can be attributed to the clear rules that promote being nice and courteous, and allow no jokes, memes, or cartoons, no reposts, and no gore.

But of course, having an active moderator team that make sure members adhere to these rules helps tremendously as well.

We contacted the moderators of 'Thalassophobia' and they were kind enough to have a little chat with us.

"Our core mod group has 4 active members, which is a small team for a subreddit of our size," they told Bored Panda. "Compared to other subreddits of our size, we don't feel like we police posts or comments as much. The reason we do so little policing can probably be explained by our subreddit's niche context that revolves around a very specific set of inoffensive content. We're just a bunch of people sharing stories, images, and videos of bodies of water that leave us in awe, wonder, and trepidation. Whenever we do police content, it's usually because it's a repost or focuses on a sea creature rather than the vastness of the ocean or the unknown depths of a body of water. We prefer for the ocean/water to play the primary role in content."

#3

Orcas In The Waves

Orcas In The Waves

Abesens Report

Ria C.
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That is beautiful. Scary cause murder mammal in murder water. But beautiful nonetheless.

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#4

This Seaweed Through Clear Water

This Seaweed Through Clear Water

appealing_orange Report

Turt_Le
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's what they want you to think

Juan Ghote
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd be the second person in history to walk on water if one of those "tentacles" touched my leg...

Robert Trebor
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Third. Peter got in a few steps before he "saw the wind" and panicked.

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Sofie
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You say seaweed, I say eldritch monster.

Ash
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I feel like I'm looking at something from a Lovecraft novel.

Naluh Maués
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think the oil platforms in the background are scariest

Will sell soul for corn chip
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is pretty common in the beaches I live by lol, I never found it scary

Just a ray of f'ing sunshine
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, I think it looks cool. If you are afraid of what's in the water I can see it scaring the sh!t out of someone though.

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Valerie Smart
Community Member
6 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

NGL seaweed or not, if I saw this coming at me I would just die on the spot.

Hphizzle
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That’s a whole lot of nope.

Quiltin Mammar
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Back in the day when I used to go to the beach - before I was scared shitless by an alarm for a pack of white pointers coming along the Australian coast - I hated seaweed so much, it totally creeped me out when I'd feel in on me in the water

Yoga Kitty
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It is waving to say hi, just wave back politely!

Louise B
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Just looking at this made my hands sweat and I came out in goosebumps. No thank you.

Blue
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

i regret seeing this sooooooooo much

viv
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

i'm sorry. but no.

Mag Swag
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

oh HELLLL NAH. if my family went to thw sea and saw this I’d be like NOPE and SPRINT back to the beach

Lori
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Needed habitat for otters, and other marine life.

DaisyGirl
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I won't lie I lose my sh!t when seaweed touches me... despite growing up on the coast

Official Cat
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is the scariest for me, my literal nightmare, sharks meh, deep water, meh ,SEAWEED, AHHHHHH

ErolHM
Community Member
6 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hermaeus Mora from Skyrim. Plane of Apocrypha.

Konpat
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Tbh I find this absolutely beautiful 😍

Abby
Community Member
2 weeks ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

f*ck f*ckity f*ck f*ck

CGDesign
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Seaweed…. More like tentacles.

Jonny Chevalier
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

with an oil drilling rig to the left...

chachkimooch
Community Member
6 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What's scarier than that is the oil rig in the background... capable of killing thousands with a single leak.

Paloma
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I hate seeing clumps of seaweed. I always think there's something lurking underneath waiting to pull me under.

Janet Graham
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That is a tall wave coming in! Don't get tangled up in the weeds.

JM
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My fear isn't so much the water itself, it's more about THINGS in the water so this one definitely presses my freaky button. The seaweed looks like monsters to me.

Birma Gustafsson
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Cthulu Rising!! Swim for your lives!

Silke
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Fingers and tentacles is what I see

Terran
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Angela Branson
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Mighty Cthulu's great tentacles reaching through into our universe

Lemonclouds20
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Imagine that wrapping around your leg

Lu
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Come to meeee

Blackstone
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I mean, even with it "just being seaweed" if you get tangled in it, it can still kill you.

HeatherDPanda
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I seriously always wondered if this was photoshopped! It is CRAZY!

Emma Schwertner
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

im not afraid of the ocean/water but after seeing this...

Jack Thanatos
Community Member
6 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

June Gem
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would freak out. I am so allergic to brown seaweed. I hate the hives I get when it touches me.

Nikki Sevven
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hunter of the shadows is rising...

Joseph Hawk
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I always thought that was cool!

Vasana Phong
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks like war of the worlds creatures stuck

Lady Z Azrael
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks like Cthulhu trying to rise

Raina Schwab
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is just straight up alien evidence! Lol🤣

Felix Finn
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour…. for more info visit any tab this site Thanks a lot ==>=>) https://www.site.works53.com

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#5

Underwater Waterfall

Underwater Waterfall

bnasty1998 Report

The mods said the 'Thalassophobia' community is very passionate and filled with both ocean-fearing and ocean-loving people. "Based on previous polls we've had in the subreddit, it's split roughly 50/50 between those [two groups]."

"Although half of the community loves the ocean, everyone understands that there are people with a phobia of large/deep bodies of water and everyone is respectful of that in their posts and comments. It's a great community to be a moderator in," they explained.

Specific phobias tend to fall into these five categories:

  • Animal type;
  • Blood-injection type;
  • Natural-environment type;
  • Situational type;
  • Other.

Thalassophobia is usually considered to belong to the natural-environment type. These fears are experienced more frequently, with some studies also suggesting that water-related phobias are more common among women.

#6

"Uhhhh, There's More Than Just Kelp And Angelfish Down Here, Over"

"Uhhhh, There's More Than Just Kelp And Angelfish Down Here, Over"

1myuutsu4 Report

#7

British Underwater Photographer Of The Year Winner 2022

British Underwater Photographer Of The Year Winner 2022

heresyourhardware Report

#9

Is To Me Or Are Black Tiled Pools Terrifying

Is To Me Or Are Black Tiled Pools Terrifying

Desperate_Squirrel20 Report

JoyfulZebra
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This looks like a pool a Bond villain would have

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Thalassophobia shares symptoms with other specific phobias, such as claustrophobia, and includes:

  • Sudden onset of anxiety or fear;
  • Shaking and trembling;
  • Sweating;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Increased heart rate or heart palpitations;
  • Difficulty breathing, including hyperventilating;
  • Chest pain;
  • Fear of losing control.
#10

Taken Off The Coast Of Southern California 2 Weeks Ago

Taken Off The Coast Of Southern California 2 Weeks Ago

bram_stokers_acura Report

#11

The Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean

TheCouncil0fRicks Report

#13

The Deadliest Stream In The World - It Looks Normal, But Underneath It Is Full Of Caves Of Powerful Fast Moving Water That Will Drag You Down. 100% Fatality Rate

The Deadliest Stream In The World - It Looks Normal, But Underneath It Is Full Of Caves Of Powerful Fast Moving Water That Will Drag You Down. 100% Fatality Rate

ecarion104 Report

The causes of specific phobias, including thalassophobia, are not entirely understood, and often differ from case to case. But according to a common explanation, it's usually a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Research shows that certain genes are associated with certain specific phobias, but as of yet no studies have looked at the genetics behind thalassophobia in particular. However, following the Darwinian theory of evolution, there should still be at least some.

#14

“The Big One”

“The Big One”

grivetart Report

#15

When You Fear Of Flying And Your Fear Of Water Meet Each Other

When You Fear Of Flying And Your Fear Of Water Meet Each Other

philbilly86 Report

ZentheOgre
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the air!

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#16

Beach Weather Is Upon Us!

Beach Weather Is Upon Us!

parentsttr Report

#17

The Eye Of S(E)auron.

The Eye Of S(E)auron.

cuebas Report

Think of it like this: our ancestors also came across deep bodies of water, and those who were cautious of the dangers they possessed may have avoided them, living longer to pass down their genes. This theory is supported by research that indicates that specific phobias are moderately heritable.

Although the exact percentage can vary, it has been found, for example, that for animal phobias, heritability is around 45%.

#18

A Howling Abyss

A Howling Abyss

Equis4 Report

#20

An Entire Street Submerged In The Deep

An Entire Street Submerged In The Deep

stefansfdsdfw Report

#21

Underwater Path. Magical Zakynthos Caves, Greece

Underwater Path. Magical Zakynthos Caves, Greece

kinkykat977 Report

Thalassophobia could also be caused by traumatic events, such as a childhood near-drowning experience, witnessing a shark attack, never learning to swim, or even being told scary stories of the ocean.

By associating a specific situation, such as being in deep water, with a panic response, over time a phobia of that situation can develop.

#22

Because All My Friends Say This Photo Of Me Freediving Gives Them The Willies

Because All My Friends Say This Photo Of Me Freediving Gives Them The Willies

marinemik Report

ZentheOgre
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Start adding dark shapes in the backgrounds when you show them pictures. Items like Thomas the trains face, rubber duck, sushi rolls Cthulhu are common items that you could sneak in

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#24

Could That Be The Megalodon's Den?

Could That Be The Megalodon's Den?

paulisnotmyname Report

#25

Taken From A Fishing Boat In Antartica

Taken From A Fishing Boat In Antartica

guitamnandakumar Report

Turt_Le
Community Member
6 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Who's catching who?