Are you on North Sea TikTok?
Over the last couple of months, videos showing massive waves tossing around ships, allegedly in the North Sea, have taken over TikTok. And they’re largely accompanied by the same haunting song.
Once you see the waves, the sound isn’t far behind: A deep, bellowing “Yo, ho/All hands/Hoist the colors high.”
One TikTok from @ukdestinations, posted in late November, used this sound to document footage of cargo ships facing impossibly tall waves and hazardous weather—allegedly in the North Sea, which is surrounded by the U.K., Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.
These kinds of videos, which often play up how “dangerous” or “treacherous” the North Sea is, got very popular in December 2023. While videos of majestic waves crashing againstlighthouses, oil rigs, andpeople are going to inspire awe and dread (and engagement).
“i’m scared i’m going to take a wrong turn and end up in the north sea (i live in nebraska),” said one commenter.
“Does the North Sea know it’s going viral rn,” asked another.
Not every video under the sound is of the North Sea. (And it’s unlikely every video in this trend is actually from the North Sea, or even real.) Some people used the sound to ask why they can’t escape North Sea TikTok.
Others showed it’s not that scary.
Where’s it from?
Creator and vocalist Bobby Waters, better known as Bobby Bass (@the.bobbybass) is behind the sound, which is a cover of Hans Zimmer’s “Hoist the Colours” from 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
It was initially conceived on TikTok in June 2022, way before the North Sea trend, as a vocal duet with six other singers. It’s now been used in more than 195,000 TikToks, and has more than 7 million views on YouTube and 10 million on Spotify.
Waters tells the Daily Dot that the song was doing well on its own, before it became the anthem of the North Sea. He guesses it’s so popular now “Probably because the extreme deepness of the voices match the depths of the sea.”
The song shares some connective tissue with the “The Wellerman” trend of January 2021, with people adding to the sea shanty to create something new.
“Hoist the Colours” is now so overwhelmingly associated with North Sea TikTok that people are begging for a new song.
The nine-month-long Ultimate World Cruise recently went through the Drake Passage, which was documented by the many influencers on board.
While there was sea sickness and lots of ominous creaking, “Hoist the Colours” came in handy there, too.