Of course, Seamanship 101 says you need to point your nose into, or just off, a wave to avoid taking it from the side and risking a capsize. But boat speed is also critical. Too fast and you might go airborne off the lip. Too slow and you risk a wave breaking over your bow. Shipbuilders have a formula: The force of impact equals the square of the sum of the velocity of the wave and the boat. In other words, a boat traveling 40 mph meets a wave going 20 mph, the force of impact equals, 3,600 ft-lbs. Lower your speed to 20 mph, and the impact reduces to 1,600 ft-lbs. Moderate speed is the key. Otherwise when a wave breaks over the front of the boat, it will likely be a life-altering event.