How Big Was the Ark?

Short Answer: About 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, divided into 3 levels [or decks].

Bible Reference: Genesis 6:14-15

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.”

A lot of people have serious reservations as to whether the Ark Noah built was big enough to hold all of the animals God sent him to save from the world-wide Flood. This is largely the fault of an all-too-common image of a cute, little bathtub toyArk over-stuffed with adorable animals, often with a pair of giraffes sticking out of the top. This well-intended Sunday School image stays with us as adults. The Bible gives a much different picture.

Genesis 6:13-22 states that God told Noah that He would send a Flood “to destroy all flesh,wherein is the breath.” He told Noah that he was to “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within andwithout with pitch… The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.” He was to bring his wife, his son’s and their wives and two of every creature, male and female, “after their kind.” He was also to take food for himself and the animals.

In his book, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, John Woodmorappe has offered that only about 16,000 animals would have been needed to fulfill God’s command to bring in two [or seven of the “clean” animals] of every land-dwelling, air-breathing animal, creeping thing and winged creatures. A cubit is roughly the distance between a man’s fingertips to his elbow. Using a conservative short cubit of 18 inches, [meaning that the Ark could well have been larger!] Dr. Woodmorappe believes that “less than half of the cumulative area of the Ark’s three decks need to have been occupied by the animals and their enclosures.” [p.16] The rest would have been adequate for stores, foodstuffs and the 8 human survivors of the Deluge.

In today’s measurements, the Ark would be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. That’s hard to picture, but a few illustrations should give you an idea of how big the Ark was.

It was taller than a 3 story building.

It had a total deck area the size of 36 lawn tennis courts or 20 basketball courts.

It was as long as a football field goalpost to goalpost and about as wide.

If you stood the Ark up on its end, it would have been as tall as the Great Pyramid of Giza. [It was as long as the Great Pyramid’s height!]

It was big enough to contain 522 standard US railroad stock cars!

Proportionally, its length was 10 times its height and 6 times its width. In fact, the Ark has the same proportions as a modern cargo ship. A 1993 Korean study headed by Dr. Seon Won Hong found no fault with the Ark’s dimensions. Such a vessel would have been seaworthy and able to handle waves as high as 100 feet. God’s blueprints were more than adequate!

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Ark (tebah) is used only one other time in the Bible, as the name of the basket that carried baby Moses down the Nile. Some scholars think tebah is more accurately translated “lifeboat.” The Ark was certainly the only lifeboat available to survive the judgment of the Flood. This is a picture of Christ, our lifeboat from the judgment of sin. As there was only one door on the Ark, Christ is the only Way by which men can be saved from the judgment to come! [John 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12] Yet Jesus is able to save us to the uttermost, as sufficiently and reliably as the biblical Ark [Heb 7:25].

One of the things we do at some of our presentations is a balloon experiment. It requires helium balloons, ribbon, a measuring tape and calm weather. When kids [and adults!] see that balloon climb 45 feet skyward, they suddenly get a greater grasp of how big the Ark actually was. We then launch balloons at heights that compare the heights of a giraffe, T-rex and other animals. This simple illustration goes a long way to sink the false image of the bathtub Arks that grace our Sunday school walls!

56 Responses to How Big Was the Ark?

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks, this gave me an answer to my question

  2. Pingback: Be Watchful - Happy Real Women | Godly Wisdom for Women in a Chaotic World

  3. Natalie says:

    Excellent – thank you !

  4. Anton says:

    The Egyptian Royal Cubit was 529mm which makes the Ark 158.7m long by 26.45m wide by 15.87m high (520 feet 8 inches long by 86 feet 9.3 inches wide by 52 feet 0.8 inches high in the old British imperial system) which is about 21m longer than the 457.2mm (18″) cubit, which works out at 137.16m long (450 feet long etc.)

    The ancient Hebrew word for cubit was ammah which seems to have been of Egyptian origin but I can’t understand that, as Egypt would surely only have come into existence after the flood, as all life was destroyed over the whole earth. Rainbows are everywhere !

    I just thought I’d add that as the metric system is used by most people in the world and the 100m sprint gives a visual realization of the arks size.

    I wonder which cubit Noah used, since the world before the flood was destroyed ?

  5. Benson says:

    It will not fit 2 of every land dwelling creature. 8.7 million species X 2 = around 17 million. You have to be an idiot if you think 17 million land animals can fit into 450x75x45.

  6. Katrina Martinez says:

    God said 2 of every “kind” of creature. Meaning 2 Canine, 2 feline, 2 birds, to fish etc…. He didn’t say 2 sharks, 2 doves etc… So if you think about it now, there was plenty of room

    • Lee says:

      Oh cool. Yeah. Then how do those species survive to this day if they were all killed in the flood?

      • Tony Breeden says:

        Lee, you’re not listening. The species we see today came from the animal kinds that went aboard the ark. It’s called speciation. It’s in your science textbook ironically.

      • Justin says:

        I don’t agree the basic were saved but and this is where religious people and me fight…..they evolved and do not comment fighting that comment your a child and I don’t have time to fight with narrow minded people no I do not believe I’m the product of monkeys but animals do evolive god did all he did but animals do evolve

      • Tony Breeden says:

        You are narrow-minded regarding religion. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t make us wrong.

      • RoflSirOfTheLawl says:

        “Oh cool. Yeah. Then how do those species survive to this day if they were all killed in the flood?”

        Evolution explains how each and every creature, kind, and species all evolved from one original single-celled organism. Which means every dog that lives today came from one “original” kind of dog… On this point, both creation and evolution agree. The difference, however, is the direction of the evolution…
        Creation: DNA is constantly lost through reproduction, causing corruption and weakening the chain.
        Evolution: DNA is constantly lost through reproduction, causing corruption and weakening the chain. But sometimes DNA accidently corrupts in a good way, making the creature stronger.

      • David says:

        So the one’s he took “evolved ” into different species? Why is it so difficult to believe that happened to mankind as well? Just playing devils advocate.

    • Justin says:

      Not fish….. Really why would a fish need safe harbor in a flood same for all the marine mammals stop talking please

    • Nedra V. Templar says:

      Oh, like, wow. 57 years and I finally get it. Spent too much time in Space science and I guess I should have kept my feet on the ground. Of course, “kind” not individual. So like we aren’t taking one of every make (chevy, ford, honda, etc) we’re taking two cars. OKay, so it’s a little lame for an example. It works for me.

  7. The pyramid of Khufu at Giza is (now) 147 meters or 481 feet high minus its gold plated capstone.

  8. Vickie says:

    The Ark of the covenant that holds the Ten Commandments is another reference to the word ark being mentioned in the bible.Gen.6:20 states every kind of bird, animal,& creature (2 of each) not just 2 birds etc. also it says every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive,fish & sea creatures are not included in this catagory.

  9. Mary M. says:

    I now have a different perspective of the Ark. Interesting!

  10. Phil M. says:

    The ark was 5,400 in long- 900 in wide and 540 in tall

  11. Robin says:

    Robin says. “That is an awfull lot of Gopher wood !”

  12. Did the kangaroos hop over to the ark? And how was it possible to keep one critter from killing another critter. After all some things kill automatically. Snakes and spiders are hard to control. Its mythical and since there is not enough water (including ice)on earth to create such a flood one must believe the whole story is – well its a story.

  13. Justin says:

    Learn how to spell and use good grammar, second there millions of land animal species so in a way evolution is going to happen god created the basic but the basic evolved so once again organized religion is at a loss of words and wrong yet again

    • Tony Breeden says:

      I am not at a loss of words. I have answered you. My grammar and spelling are immaterial to the discussion; you’re simply being dismissive and insulting

    • Fred says:

      “Use good grammar” how about use correct grammar. Second “there” needs to be they’re. Evolution is impossible. DNA replicates to form copies of itself, if there is a mistake in the DNA it is discarded. Every thing on earth has its own specific DNA code. Rabbit DNA will only make more rabbit DNA, it will never make turtle DNA. Within kinds of animals, say dogs, you start with dog DNA and you end with dog DNA. But dog DNA contains tons of specific differences that make all the different types of dogs. Besides being mathematically impossible, the is no proof for the theory of evolution. Science knows it is all BS, but they still have sheepole like you to blather nonsense all day long.

  14. Colton says:

    Thank you very much this is a part That has always made me doubt now I understand thank you for leading me closer to god

  15. ryan says:

    Yeah, you have given us all a good laugh here at St Joe. We were honestly expecting a [expletive] response on your part, We were not expecting a deletion, but nevertheless, we were not surprised.
    We wanted to add just one more thing. One of the functions of mythology is to poke fun at the gods. The gods are silly; vicious; petty and small. That is exactly what the flood tale is about. The jew god lost his mind and threw a fit. This not a smart god. Have you never wondered why jewgod deliberately planted those trees in eden, told those 2 bare-assed morons not to eat, and then punished them when they did? Have you never wondered why jewgod repeatedly sent his chosen people, that ignorant, superstitious pack of unwashed barbarians, out to the battlefields to slaughter off whole ethic groups? Get it through your head, dude. The old testament is a joke about jewgod and the jews, written by sophisticated Hellenized jews who wanted to make a break from their “heritage”. That was the original xristianity.
    We trust we have pissed you off. You have to delete this–you have no choice.
    (signed) ryan; kyllie, emily; jon and leslie

    • Tony Breeden says:

      Dear Conspiracy of St Joe,

      Answers to your various objections given here are given on my other site:

      I really don’t have to delete this comment any more than I did the other comment [which I did not delete; I’m simply busy and comments are moderated here because this site is meant for all ages and some trolls are more vile and hateful than others]

      You weren’t much of a challenge. Better luck on your next trolling adventure.


    • Donna says:

      Your comment is disgusting trash filth. Only a demented moronic mind would comment this way. I don’t appreciate your vulgar comments about Jewish people or God or Christianity. I don’t like reading it. It’s sick

  16. ryan says:

    Excuse me, but immediately after posting our second response, our first appeared. So you didn’t delete after all. So you don’t fear disagreement. Are you sure you’re a xristian?

  17. ryan says:

    tony, if you had anything near the brains you think you have, you would recognize that my arguments are not original. They are centuries old and they are valid objections that any thinking man would make. But you are neither a thinker nor a man. You are a precocious kid and I would guess your age at 14 at the outside. My suggestion would be that you close your bible and go educate yourself for the first time in your life. This is the first time you have encountered an atheist, isn’t it? A christian will tell you what the bible means, but an atheist will tell you what the bible says.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      Actually, I was an evolutionist for most of my life. I’m college educated and I rejected evolutionary theory because pure naturalism [upon which the theory] is based is self-refuting. I understand your need to mock; it helps to insulate your credulity. I’ve successfully debated atheists and I’m always amused when they tell me what I should or should not do or believe. What is your basis for right and wrong as an atheist?

    • Larry says:

      I agree Ryan. Tony’s has obviously been brainwashed since birth and that has corrupted his thinking process to the point that he could not accept the truth no matter what proof was shown to him.The bible is a fairy tale, as is the god it represents. Mythology and supperstition from an age when reason and science was condemmed and forbidden.
      Why any one would accept such hairbrained stories from the bible instead of looking to science for the answere is beyond me. I can only believe the main reasons are an emotional need and fear, that outwiegh the desire for truth.

  18. Janis Kast Harrison says:

    Thanks for a great comparison. I, too, was once a sceptic about Christianity. After college, I met a group of Christians and for the first time, heard people pray in unscripted prayers. They knew God. I would encourage doubters to pray and ask God if He’s real.

  19. Emme says:

    Ryan why do you get so nasty and profane? If you are truly confident in your beliefs you don’t have to attack and name call. It certainly doesn’t make you sound more credible. You sound like a bully who wins arguments by berating and out shouting others. You denigrating my God does not make me change my mind. I’ve personally experienced His gracious miracles. I’m sorry you’re so angry. I hope things get better.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      I have edited Ryan’s comments to eliminate the profanity, but he will be kept on a shorter leash in the future. My apologies to all. My filter was set at a more generous level than I thought. I strive to keep this site family-friendly. Anyone who purposely resorts to abusive language will be banned from commenting.

      • Ben Simmons says:

        In all sincerity, may the Lord continue to bless you with His anointing and wisdom Bro. Breeden.
        I am rather busy at the moment, and have not the time to waste in bumping into the vitriol of what the word of God refers to as a “fool” and his argument. I speak of none other than Mr. Ryan, who would do eternally well to research the Lambs book of life, and scan it for his own name. May God have mercy on his ignorance.
        In Jesus precious Name, Amen.
        -Bro. Ben

  20. Martin says:

    I am a Christian but have trouble with the Noah thing as the human species would become extinct if the population fell to around 2000.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      Given the CURRENT rate of mutation, that’s certainly true; however creationists suggest that the human genome was much more robust back then, coming from Adam’s originally perfect genes [note the long lives of pre-Flood peoples]. While there was a genetic bottleneck due to the Flood’s drastic reduction of the population [note the drastic reduction in lifespans after the Flood], the human genome remained robust enough that God did not forbid marriage between close relatives until the time of Moses about 845 years later [a span that is about four times as long as the Unites States of America has been around]. Hope that helps.

  21. Karen says:

    I just found this website this morning. My church group was discussing Noah’s Ark and I was searching to find a modern day example of it’s size. I read through previous comments and must say, there are some who are extremely critical and fearful of Someone they neither know or believe in. Yes , I am a Christian and my “jewgod” has a proper name-Jehovah and His proper title is God. The ruler these people give allegiance to( whether they realize it or not) is the one with the lower case g. I may be brainwashed, but I’m also blood washed. I don’t have to defend myself or my faith before any man. One day, when I’m standing on the right and the skeptics and nonbelievers are on the left, I will “see with my eyes the reward of the wicked”- let’s see how that works out for them then. Remember, they laughted at Noah, scoffed at his warnings, called him ignorant and gullible, but a the end of the day- Noah floated while the atheist, agnostics, and nonbelievers had a different view of the situation. The lesson to be heeded- believe or not, like it or don’t, the truth still remains.

    • Dawn Burnside says:

      Very well said & God Bless you. Perhaps when I pray for “non believers” they to will see the miracles of God, I don’t know. What you posted about my Lord & Savior I do know.

    • Ben Simmons says:

      Absolutely love your position and your stance! Very clearly explained and invulnerable to any weapon formed against it. Praise God Karen!

  22. ambidexter143 says:

    The largest wooden ship ever built was HMS Victoria (three decker of 121 guns launched in 1859). Her size was 79.2 meters (260 feet) long and 18.3 meters (60 feet) wide with a draught of 8.4 meters (27.5 feet). While Victoria’s hull was wood her framing was iron and the Ark would have been entirely wood. Victoria was not a successful ship. She suffered from excessive hogging*, her bow sagged about 8 cm (32 inches) and her stern sagged 60 cm (25 inches). Her pumps had to be run continuously to keep up with the seepage. She was put in commission in 1864 and decommissioned in 1867, never seeing active service again. She was sold for scrap in 1893.

    If a much smaller wooden ship built to a more advanced design than the Ark was considered so unseaworthy as to be taken out of commission after only three years** then it’s most likely that the Ark would not have made it through the first big storm she was in.

    *Hogging is the bend in the keel, especially in wooden-hulled ships, caused over time by the ship’s center being more buoyant than the bow or stern. At her 1992 refit, USS Constitution (53 meters/175 feet waterline length) had 13 inches (33 cm) of hogging.

    **Lord Nelson’s famous flagship HMS Victory of 100 guns was in continuous commission from 1778 to 1829.

  23. Dennis Decker says:


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