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You see a boat filled with people. It has not sunk, but when you look again you don't see a single person on the boat. Why?

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  • $\begingroup$ sorry, but this seems not on-topic, according to the scope defined in the help center. such off-topic posts may get deleted or closed. please check the help center or faqs on the meta site to see what questions you should/ can ask here on P.SE. happy puzzling! ;) $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Oct 17 '19 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton I agree, it has gotten off topic :) $\endgroup$ – ThatOneNerdyBoy Oct 17 '19 at 1:03

15 Answers 15

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I think the answer is

You don't see a single person (unmarried), instead all of the people on the boat are in a married couple.

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I've actually been on a boat where this has happened:

The people on the boat are all scuba-divers and they've all gone into the water and are now underwater.

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The answer could be:

The boat is docked and everybody had disembarked.

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Another possibility:

The boat is a submarine. It is full of people, but they're all in the boat, not on the boat. (It could work with a regular boat as well, provided everyone is below decks.)

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    $\begingroup$ I really should have added a few more constraints! $\endgroup$ – ThatOneNerdyBoy Oct 14 '19 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ There's a lot of programmers on this site - you gotta keep your parameters really tight... $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Oct 14 '19 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ As you can see, I am a new contributor (also a programmer to some extent). I'll keep this all in mind for next time! $\endgroup$ – ThatOneNerdyBoy Oct 14 '19 at 19:29
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The answer is

everybody jumped off the boat

because

the boat was on fire.

Or,

they all decided to go swimming.

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    $\begingroup$ Hmmm. Well I guess you're not wrong! $\endgroup$ – ThatOneNerdyBoy Oct 14 '19 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ #4: too busy rolling for initiative. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Oct 15 '19 at 0:38
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the lulz. $\endgroup$ – user3294068 Oct 16 '19 at 13:12
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You saw:

A multitude of persons on the boat.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not quite what I was looking for, but I guess it does work in a way! $\endgroup$ – ThatOneNerdyBoy Oct 14 '19 at 11:26
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That is because

the boat has capsized!

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    $\begingroup$ capsized != sunk. I've capsized a boat a few times, but have never sunk one. $\endgroup$ – IronEagle Oct 15 '19 at 0:47
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That's because

This is a Schrödinger Boat. Depending on when you look at it and when its quantum superposition ends, the persons may or may not be here.

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    $\begingroup$ Based on my understanding: once it's observed, a superposition collapses into a single state (the state being what's observed). So the superposition without people wouldn't exist after you've seen the boat with people and this explanation can't explain what's been seen. $\endgroup$ – NotThatGuy Oct 15 '19 at 12:34
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The people are playing a pretty epic mass-multiplayer game of hide and seek

or

You were hallucinating when you saw the people

or

You were hallucinating when you thought the people had gone

or

You were hallucinating both times. There is no boat!

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Another simple solution:

You returned to that place after a long time. The boat is still there, the people have left.

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Another possibility:

The boat is in waves that rock the boat towards and away from you. So one minute, you can see the decks full of people, the next you just see the hull.

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"when you look again you don't see a single person on the boat". Of course you wouldn't see 'a single person' because the boat is full of people. Too much thought when the words are right there!

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Because

A fog bank has rolled in, obscuring your view of the boat's deck

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It is clearly the case that:

the sails were just furled. Now, there is nothing blocking the Sun from shining right in your eyes and preventing you from looking clearly in the direction of the boat.

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This one is a bit dark:

The boat is filled with people, but they are not recognizable as single persons because they are all blended in a huge pile of human jam.

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