There have been numerous reports of swordfish that attack ships, even causing small craft to sink. The reasons for their attacks are not clear, but it is probable that they mistake the ships for whales or some other living animal that is invading their domain. The velocity attained by an attacking swordfish must be tremendous, for the sword is sometimes so deeply embedded in the wood that the fish is unable to withdraw it, and breaks it off in its attempts to escape.
In a museum in England there is part of the bow of a ship into which a swordfish stuck its sword thirteen and a half inches deep through solid wood; and in the British Museum there is an exhibit of a timber from the side of a ship through which a swordfish’s sword has penetrated for no less than twenty-two inches! Even human beings are not immune from these gladiators of the sea. Men have received severe wounds, and in 1830 off the coast of England, a man was killed by a swordfish.