The USC Tsunami Research Group tells us that Seward was one of the areas hit hardest by the 1964 Good Friday tsunami. The shaking of the earthquake caused the Seward waterfront to collapse into the Bay, generating a 30-foot local tsunami. The tsunami destroyed most of the facilities near the waterfront, including a fuel tank farm, which started the first of many fires in Seward. Approximately 20 minutes after the initial local tsunami struck Seward, the first 40-foot wave of the tectonic tsunami wave washed in. This wave spread a wall of flaming oil into Seward destroying and setting fire to a large section of the town. Now there are signs around town telling you which way to evacuate in case of a tsunami alarm.
If you're going out on a boat and not used to be on Alaskan waters, please take motion sickness pills if there's even a small chance you get seasick. It will make your trip to see whales, glaciers and wildlife much more enjoyable. I'm not just saying this for you, but for the rest of us who have to be on that boat with you. We went on a whale watching cruise on a day where Resurrection Bay looked calm and glassy. When the captain mentioned getting sick and how to please do it downwind, people laughed because the water didn't look capable of making anyone queasy. Including Bobby and myself, there were about 20 passengers on this boat...the first got sick 20 minutes into the 4 hour tour. A few more went down when we reached Cape Resurrection and the swells were making it difficult to stand. Most couldn't keep their lunch down after the captain cut the motor and turned into his own wake to view a gray whale. As we neared the harbor on the way back, only 4 of us were left standing. The deck had to be washed down with buckets of water and when the boat's motor was cut, all you heard was people getting sick off the side of the boat. It wasn't warm and by this time it was raining but we had to stay outside because the cabin was like an infirmary. Everyone in there looked miserable. I personally can't stand when babies spit up and really can't tolerate hearing people get sick so rather than being able to enjoy the last half hour, I had to concentrate on not listening to the seasick passengers and finding a clean place to stand. There are motion sickness pills available for purchase inside the offices of the tour companies as well as at the grocery store...PLEASE get some if there's any risk of getting sick.
There are tsunami warning signs around town along the coast. Alaska is geologically active and an earthquake that lasts for 30 seconds or more could cause a giant tidal wave in the area. Even earthquakes far out in the Pacific could generate tidal waves that could reach Seward's shores.
The 1964 earthquake produced local 30ft. waves and later tidal waves that destroyed most buildings near the waterfront. There were 12 deaths and millions of dollars worth of damage.
The town is equipped with emergency sirens to warn citizens and visitors. If the siren sounds for more than 3 minutes head to higher ground.