# Acoustic transmission through houseboat hulls

The short version is: should I be worried about bass transmission through water into my neighbors' hulls?

I am renovating a small houseboat (12x30 ft) to live on. It is one large room, and I plan on putting my reasonably large hifi system into it (260W/channel at 8Ω). One side of the boat is glass windows, the other is a plywood wall with an ~8" cavity with studs. The floor is a plywood floor, and the hull is a fiberglass shell with marine ply inside.

I am familiar with audio transmission/reflectance/resonance in, say, an apartment context, which can be roughly modeled as adjacent resonant cavities. How will transmission differ through water? Will I have higher transmission at bass frequencies? The houseboats adjacent to mine have thick concrete hulls (say, 6-12"), so maybe the point is moot and I should be only worried about transmission over the surface of the water, which I know is highly reflective.

tl;dr am I going to pwn my neighbors with bass through the water or should I be more worried about the glass wall and transmission through the 12 ft of air separating the boats? What other factors may contribute that I may be missing?

Thank you for your help.

• But you are not worried about any effects on the fish? – Solar Mike May 13 '17 at 16:32
• +1: I find it very commendable of you to ask for factors that you are missing, before doing this. – MrYouMath May 13 '17 at 16:47
• I'd agree that transmission thru the air is a strong path -- windows tend to resonate at low frequencies, for one thing. Plus if you ever want the windows open, well... :-) – Carl Witthoft May 14 '17 at 11:25

As @SolarMike pointed out the acoustic waves might harm the fish because the sonic speed in water is approximate $1484 \frac{\text{m}}{\text{s}}$ (at $20° \text{ C}$), this is quite high compared to the sonic speed in air which is approximate $330 \frac{\text{m}}{\text{s}}$. This might lead to the disorientation of the fish population close to your boat. The worst case scenario would be that your hi-fi system destroys the lateral line system (something like the ear of humans but not quite the same) of the fish population, which will lead to a permanent loss of the ability to orient and possibly to their death.