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Walk, Don't Swim

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Captain Jack: All hands to the boats! [sees Barbossa glaring at him, steps back] Apologies. You give the orders.
Captain Barbossa: Gents! Take a walk!
Captain Jack: ...not to the boats?

A character is too dense to have any buoyancy, so they deal with bodies of water by walking across the bottom rather than swimming. This is a common strategy with characters who can breathe underwater, or creatures like zombies, golems, or robots who don't need to breathe at all. Of course, immunity to drowning isn't strictly necessary to walk underwater, but it helps. As does superhuman ability to withstand pressure, if this is done in any but the most shallow waters.

Often happens in video games, where this saves the programmers from having to code for swimming behavior, while averting Super Drowning Skills. Just make the character move slower and jump higher, give them an Oxygen Meter, and voila! underwater physics.

If this is done by Fish People who should be capable of swimming, for no reason other than ignorance of the third dimension, see Water Is Air. See Walk on Water for an even more impressive version.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Referenced in Ghost in the Shell (1995) with regard to the Major's hobby of SCUBA diving. Batou comments that he's never heard of a diving cyborg before, and for good reason: a buoyancy compensator failure would result in guaranteed death. Cybernetic bodies are far too heavy to permit unassisted swimming at all, and a cyborg stuck on the bottom thus would run out of oxygen long before he/she would be able to walk back to shore.
  • Ikaros did this in Heaven's Lost Property, as she doesn't need to breathe and her body is too dense to float.
  • Naruto: A division of Kabuto and Tobi's army of zombies and Zetsu clones reached a beach by walking along the seabed (at least in the anime).
  • Zelgadis in Slayers is partially golem, which makes him too heavy to swim. That gives him one option if he falls into water.
  • Some of the Fog ships in Arpeggio of Blue Steel walk on the bottom of the ocean on occasion.
    • Zuikaku claims she sometimes swim, sometimes walk on the sea floor to get between her ship and the shore.
    • When Ashigara goes to look for a sunken ship, she takes a stroll in the depths.
  • Salvatore Doni does this after his first fight with Godou in the novels for Campione!. His Man of Steel Authority renders him practically invulnerable but also causes his weight and density to increase in proportion to the damage it is defending against. When fighting out on a lake Godou manages to hit Doni with the White Stallion. Cue Doni sinking straight to the bottom. He is unharmed but considers Godou the victor since it took Doni until the next morning to get to the shore, taking him out of the fight.
  • Seen in the All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku OAVs when Nuku goes to the beach. After she dives into the ocean, she sinks right to the bottom. Being a robot, she doesn't breathe, so it doesn't hurt her, but she's rather embarrassed.

    Comic Books 
  • In X-Men, this is Juggernaut's default way of crossing water. One of the most famous examples of this was after his first battle with Spider-Man, which left the Juggernaut buried in concrete - he simply tunneled his way into the Hudson River and walked out to sea.
    • Colossus would do this too, as his "organic steel" body doesn't need to breathe. As he walked away from a plane crash on one occasion, things got troublesome when the island the team was headed to disabled all mutant powers...
  • In the Astro City "Tarnished Angel" story arc, the Reformed, but Rejected Chrome Champion Steeljack escapes from a prison helicopter and falls into the river. He manages to hyperventilate himself and walks across the riverbed to shore.
  • In Concrete, Ron Lithgow, the title character has noted that if he fell into a deep and large body of water, he would sink to the bottom without a big flotation device and/or special swimming equipment and his only chance of survival would be to walk on the bottom to a shallow area within an hour before he drowns.
  • In The Return of Superman, a powerless Superman traveled from the Antarctic by riding inside a giant Kryptonian battle-robot, who walked along the sea bottom.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The skeletal form of the long dead Amazon Artemis reanimated by Circe walks the ocean floor to rise eerily from the water and she comes ashore of Paradise Island looking for revenge.

    Comic Strips 
  • Clumsy Carp can do this at will (and apparently hold his breath indefinitely) in B.C..

    Film – Live Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • In The Curse of the Black Pearl, the undead pirates walk along the ocean floor to reach Commodore Norrington's ships undetected. Earlier in the film, Jack and Will commandeer a skiff, turn it upside down and trap air inside it, and walk along the bottom of the harbor.
      Will: This is either madness, or brilliance!
      Cpt. Jack Sparrow: It's remarkable how often those two tend to coincide.
    • In Dead Man's Chest, the crew of the Flying Dutchman walk from their submerged ship to the shore of Isla Cruces.
    • A version in Dead Men Tell No Tales: Captain Salazar and his crew run across the water, not underneath it, to reach Jack, Henry, and Carina.
  • In The Crimson Pirate, Captain Vallo, his sidekick Ojo and The Professor use the upside-down trick to walk to shore after being chained to a dingy without rows or sails.
  • Early in Highlander, Connor is thrown into a lake by Ramirez. Connor can't swim, but can't die, either, so this happens - though the series proceeded to change the rules and make this impossible later on.
  • The zombies from Land of the Dead are shown approaching Fiddler's Green by walking through a lake.
  • Data does this in Star Trek: Insurrection, although it later turns out that he also has an optional floatation device - an apparent upgrade since the TV series.
  • Apparently, a deleted scene from Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan would've shown Jason doing this.
  • All the Jaegers in Pacific Rim, on account of being way too heavy to swim even with a humanoid design. In the final battle, they walk on the ocean floor to get to the Breach.
  • In the Mortal Engines movie, Shrike walks ashore from the sunken wreckage of Sharkmoor after Valentine torpeedos it to allow his escape.
  • The titular character of Alita: Battle Angel does this in the scene when she finds the Berserker armour; partly because she doesn't need to breathe, partly because the body she's in is too dense, and probably partly because she doesn't even know how to swim.
  • Juan of the Dead: Juan catches up to Lázaro and Sara while they are trying to flee zombie-infested Cuba on a raft. While he is talking to Lázaro, Sara disappears into the water. They notice she is gone and when look under the water, they see a vast horde of zombies walking along the seabed.

  • Demons of the Deep have your character being forced to Walk the Plank by a band of pirates, into the depths of the ocean. But you unexpectedly land in a magic circle in Atlantis, gaining the ability to breathe underwater, at which point you spend the rest of the adventure walking on the seabed exploring Atlantis while trying to locate the pirates for your revenge. It's worth noting that breaking surface at any point of the book dispels the magic, however.

  • Discworld:
    • Golems, being automata, can do this. When Boxed Crook Moist von Lipwig is assigned one as his parole officer in Going Postal, he is reminded that even fleeing to a different continent would not help him, as it would be able to walk any body of water eventually. In addition, said parole officer previously spent several decades at the bottom of a well manning a pump, and another golem spent several thousand years at the bottom of the ocean before it was recovered, but neither of them did much walking in that time.
    • Zombies do the same, as Windle Poons just walks ashore after attempting to drown himself in Reaper Man, and Reg Shoe contemplates walking all the way back to Ankh-Morpork along the bottom of the sea if their ship is sunk in Jingo.
    • When Big Jim Beef, Lancre's troll border guard, gets pushed into Lancre River in Lords and Ladies, Ridcully says he'll just do this. Unlike golems and zombies, trolls probably do need to breathe, so he probably couldn't do it for something much wider than a river.
    • Although never actually mentioned in the books, Word of God has it that troll ducks do this. (And indeed, that troll ducks are even a thing.)
  • Larry Niven and Steven Barnes' novel Dream Park. When the party escapes pursuing zombies by taking a small boat, the zombies walk into the water after them. The players forget that zombies don't need to breathe, and the zombies walk along the bottom and eventually grab one of the party members and drag her underwater.
  • Mentioned in both The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z as a reason to be careful around water during a zombie outbreak. It's also a reason to be vigilant after an outbreak, because you never know when a zombie might stumble out of the ocean and spark a new infection. However, he also stated the best place to be is on a boat. Doesn't matter if the zombies may be covering the ocean's floor—as long as the water is deep enough, they cannot reach you.
  • In Caves of Ice, a force of Necrons manage to wade through several levels worth of caves (of ice, naturally) that have been flooded with pure promethium (basically super-gasoline). This does not help them in the slightest when it explodes.
  • Dortmunder and Kelp plan to do this in an attempt to retrieve a cache of stolen cash from under a lake in Drowned Hopes by Donald Westlake. It fails as they discover the inherent buoyancy of the human body.
  • Midnight Tides, book five of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, has two examples:
    • Ublala Pung is sentenced to death by a procedure called the Drownings, and made to swim across the canal burdened with a bag of gold. However, thanks to being a Tarthenal, he's bigger than a human and has four lungs, enabling him to simply walk across the canal's bottom and win his freedom.
    • The Guardian, an entity of unspecified origin which is set up by Mael, Elder God of the Sea, to guard the names of long forgotten gods, is basically a suit of armor that walks around on the sea bottom and challenges any intruders.
  • The novel Sirena depicts the sirens as mermaids and the sea nymphs as water-breathing human-figures who can walk underwater or walk in water (in three-dimensions) as easily as humans walk on land.
  • The Glass Cat from the Land of Oz books has been known to do that.
  • Shrike from Mortal Engines walks across the ocean floor of the Sea of Khazak while persuing Hester Shaw to the Black Island.
  • Worm: Discussed as one avenue for Weld to escape during 27.5.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Many videos and advertisements for BIONICLE's Mahri Nui storyline showed the characters walking around on the ocean floor, however, the books, comics and serials showed them swimming.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paranoia adventure Vapors Don't Shoot Back. When the PCs fight Black-U-BRD-5 aboard his pirate ship in the reservoir, it's possible for his robots to be knocked overboard. If they're still operational they can walk along the bottom and climb up a shaft back onto the deck.
  • Basic Dungeons & Dragons adventure CM2 Death's Ride. During the siege of Gollim, a force of undead walk across the bottom of the nearby river and make a surprise attack on the town.
    • Also a tactic of constructs, especially inevitables, who don't tire, don't breathe, and suffer few ill effects from water. Maybe not iron golems, though.
    • Warforged from the Eberron setting are explicitly stated to be able to do this. However, since they are made of about 30% darkwood, they can still swim if they try.
  • An undead serial killer, Aldern Foxglove, does this in an early Pathfinder adventure.
  • As Humongous Mecha, BattleMechs in BattleTech will usually do this upon entering water deep enough for them to even worry about. This still leaves them as one of only two unit types that can move underwater by default at all (the other being, quite naturally, submarines). A rare few of them actually avert the trope by virtue of mounting "underwater movement units", basically ducted fans that actually do allow them to "swim" while fully submerged, but since those systems turn into dead weight on land where most combat happens they remain exotic specialists.
  • In the backstory of the default scenario of OGRE, this is how the eponymous cybertank sneaked onto the playing area, and (should it survive with any treads remaining) how it gets away. The defenders incorrectly thought the river was impassible to armored hostiles.

    Video Games 
  • DragonFable: Early in the game the Hero accidentally blows up a pirate ship containing a large amount of water-breather potions, which mixes with the ocean. For the rest of the story this allows the sea to become breathable to land dwellers. Several quests then involve the Hero journeying underwater, where they always walk along the sea floor.
  • Empire Earth:
    • The Hyperion cyber is amphibious, doing so by walking on the seabed. This can create odd situations where Hyperions on land can shoot submarines while the submarines can fire at the Hyperion but the torpedoes can't hit a land target, or battleships being able to attack submerged Hyperions but not submarines.
    • The unused Hover Tank unit also moves along the seafloor, presumably due to engine limitations.
  • In a level of Gobliins 2, protagonists Fingus and Winkle go down a well and have to go through an underwater cave that is connected to the sea. They wear scuba gear, but keep walking on the bottom without ever trying to swim.
  • Among the many feats of badassitude of Street Fighter's Akuma is the ability to walk unfazed along the bottom of the ocean. Which he then jumps off of and splits the sunken ship he was standing on in two with his feet.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog can't swim at all—developer Yuji Naka initially gave him this limitation under the mistaken belief that real-life hedgehogs couldn't swim. So, depending on the game, Sonic either runs underwater or has Super Drowning Skills. He can however, run on the top of the water if he's going fast enough.
    • The other characters walk along the bottom too but many of them have abilities that let them swim temporarily.
    • In 2D Sonic games since Sonic 3, Tails can swim (as a rough analogue to his ability to fly above water). However he tires fast and then sinks.
    • Knuckles can "glide" underwater in Sonic 3 & Knuckles and in the Sonic Advance games this becomes a swim analogue like Tails' flying. The Sonic Advance series also gives Knuckles the ability to swim along the top of the water. In Sonic Adventure 2 he can swim freely and even gets a power-up that let's him breath underwater.
    • In Sonic Colors, Sonic finally learns to swim... sort of. He still sinks like a rock and runs underwater, but he's capable of Double Jumping infinitely while underwater, which is basically swimming in all but name. He loses it in Sonic Generations despite it taking place not long after Colours. The Wisps might be involved in that infinite double jump - except for the white wisps they DO allow him to breathe underwater (and Frenzy moves much quicker when underwater compared to on dry land, to boot!) The yellow Wisp also turns him into a tornado underwater, giving him basically complete manoeuvrability.
    • Extends to Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games in the swimming events: Other Sonic characters can swim but Sonic has to wear a life jacket and looks like he's trying to run through the water.
  • Mega Man, because he's a robot, natch. He did learn to swim for Mega Man 8.
    • Mega Man ZX has the main characters, when in their 'base' forms (without Biometal) float up to the surface of the water. Certain specific Megamerges and forms can swim, but otherwise, this trope is played straight.
  • Soma Cruz from Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow does the same thing until he gets the ability to play this trope partially straight - like the Sonic Colors example above, he and some other Castlevania protagonists can double-jump infinitely in water.
  • Commando 2 have stages in the Mekong River, where after diving you then literally walk in the depths of the river, while ambushing Japanese soldiers by leaping on their boats. You do have an oxygen meter that depletes while onscreen though.
  • Played straight in Terraria. Though there are items in the game that allow you to swim.
  • The protagonist of Cave Story and Curly Brace are unable to swim underwater, or even jump higher than one block, except when swept along by a current, in which they can move in any direction.
  • Subject Delta in BioShock 2, like the other Big Daddy units in the series, is fused into his armored diving suit, and is thus too heavy to swim but perfectly capable of tromping around the sea floor indefinitely. You get to do this at several points throughout the game as Breather Levels between shootouts.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when wearing the Iron Boots. This is also an ability of Zora Link in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Zora Link is perfectly capable of traditional swimming; walking underwater is purely optional.
  • Metroid:
    • Samus in every game since Super Metroid. The Gravity Suit, which is supposed to allow free movement in water, combines Walk, Don't Swim with Water Is Air. Presumably the suit is still too heavy to permit actual swimming, or it would be improbably difficult to swim straight with one arm significantly larger and heavier than the other. Regardless, Samus's suit means she doesn't have to worry about oxygen, so being underwater is just annoying until you get the upgrade.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus introduces a non hazardous liquid to the Metroid series; water. You can tell it's not hazardous because you'll find a hornoad jumping towards you in it. All it does is slightly slow down Samus's running speed and even more slightly hinder her jump. Not all the non hazardous liquid may be water though, as some of it doesn't slow Samus down at all, basically being there for aesthetic reasons.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes gives the player a propeller along with the Gravity Suit, allowing the player to hover a limited distance underwater.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush is tossed in the sea tied to an idol, and is able to walk around at the bottom. He can also do this in the sequel when investigating a sunken ship, in The Curse of Monkey Island (as an Easter Egg), in Escape from Monkey Island while searching for a treasure hoard under a lake, and in Tales of Monkey Island.
  • Snake, in the first Metal Gear Solid and in its remake, The Twin Snakes.
    • In the second game, there is a swimming section where you have to manually open a couple doors. If you stop before opening the door you can walk around on the floor, albeit very slowly.
  • Halo:
    • Master Chief, when jumping into the coolant pools during the "Keyes" sequence in Halo: Combat Evolved. Or if you drive into the ocean on the beach level (no reason to, but hey, you can do it). Justified, as the MJOLNIR armor is stated to weigh close to half a ton. The same mechanic is shown in cutscene form in Halo 2, in which MC jumps into Delta Halo's "ocean" to avoid a Covenant plasma attack and goes straight to the bottom.
    • Ironically averted with his ragdoll in Halo 3. Nothing like watching more than a half ton of meat and titanium float down the river. Played straight in the actual gameplay (when Master Chief is alive). Jumping into deep water make you sink and kills you instantly (likely for gameplay reasons; Master Chief should be able to survive it, but since there's no actual way to get yourself out of the deep body of water, you just die). There are some places where the water is deep enough to immerse yourself, but not deep enough to kill you. It can make for handy cover.
  • Creatures who wind up in water in the latter two games in the main trilogy will typically wander around on the bottom until they drown, although there are third-party objects available that will allow certain creatures to swim.
  • The player character in An Untitled Story can't swim, but sure is buoyant underwater. Said player character is a flightless bird-like creature (that, sadly, is not a penguin).
  • In NetHack you can walk across the bottom of water if you're wearing an amulet of magical breathing. However, each turn spent underwater has a chance of rusting your iron equipment, diluting your potions, and erasing your scrolls via washing out their ink (unless you store all that stuff in an oilskin bag); plus, the water current pushes you around. Since there's multiple other ways of crossing water, this is usually reserved as a last resort.
  • In Space Station Silicon Valley, some of the animals you take control of do this.
  • You can alternate between this and normal swimming in Alundra 2.
  • Things with a [NOBREATHE] tag in Dwarf Fortress walk around on the bottom of water-filled areas with a speed penalty instead of swimming. In Adventure Mode, you can choose to wade through water below a certain depth, but have to swim if a z-level is filled with water to the top.
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, skeletons are the only non-flying, non-swimming unit to be able to enter Deep Water terrain, though only slowly and with very poor dodge rates. They also have the "submerge" special ability, which makes them difficult to see when they are in deep water.
  • In XCOM Terror From The Deep, every unit in an underwater mission walks on the sea bed, except for Tentaculats and Hallucinoids.
  • In Trine, the Knight is the only protagonist who walks underwater instead of swimming. Not too surprising, what with being clad in full suit of plate armor.
  • Warrior Kings has two super units, the Archangel and Abbaddon, doing this.
  • World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has this option in the new Vashj'ir zone as part of a swim speed/underwater breathing buff, along with similar mechanics added into the old zones.
  • Kingdom Hearts has a few occurrences of this, with Atlantica in Chain of Memories and parts of Prankster's Paradise in Dream Drop Distance. From a story perspective, this makes sense, given the natures of Castle Oblivion and the Sleeping Worlds - Sora is travelling through a recreated memory in the former and a dream of the latter. From a gameplay perspective, Atlantica's sole visit that didn't use this trope and had actual combat did not have the most stellar reception.
  • An entire army pulled this off in 2920: The Last Year of the First Era. A group of mages helped them breathe underwater and bypass Dunmer defenses to sack a city.
  • Oriental Legend have the second stage in the Heavenly River, where your characters walks in the river's depths instead of swimming. Even players who use Sun Wukong, who in the novels have water as his Weaksauce Weakness, can stroll underwater while fighting enemies freely.
  • The commanders from Planetary Annihilation do this, while all your buildings are constructed on little rafts while on water.
  • Minecraft players may choose to do this when crossing shallow water, only coming up to breathe when their air runs out, as a way to save the hunger cost of swimming. Works even better with a Respiration-enchanted helmet. Inverted at the same time with many non-aquatic mobs who constantly swim up when in water, even enemies that would benefit from sinking to reach a diving player. Undead mobs still play this trope straight.
  • Civilization: In the Test of Time fantasy map, most units that can travel to the undersea map appear to do this.
  • Shovel Knight's eponymous protagonist can't swim and instead has to rely on greatly improved jump height when underwater.
  • In Fallout 4, any character wearing Power Armor will walk underwater instead of swimming. The good news is that the armor's helmet will let you breathe for quite a while, the bad news is that all the water in the Commonwealth is heavily irradiated, so even with the armor's rad resistance, you won't want to take too long a bath unless you've picked up the Aquaboy/Aquagirl perk and thus no longer take radiation from being in water.
  • In Lost Planet 2, Every level with a focus on water is this trope incarnate. Players, AI teammates, enemy soldiers, Vital Suits, and land-based Akrid all walk along the sea floor and use weaponry completely unhindered. No oxygen meter, no speed penalty, no weapon usage restrictions, just a slightly blurry view, muffled noises, and a slower falling speed. The only real gameplay change between water and land based levels is the ability to "swim", which has the player swim slightly forward after pressing the jump button in mid-air (er... mid-water). Outside of water levels, water acts as either decoration that can be walked through without any gameplay changes, or as an instakill hazard meant to keep players on their toesnote .
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, potentially as a result of an oversight, if you jump into a body of water while being attacked and the enemies follow you, then instead of them swimming, they will just keep walking at the bottom.
  • In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, the Earth Reaver gives you the ability to walk underwater and perform the same actions you can on land, only slower. This is necessary to solve some of the puzzles, like those that involve pulling and pushing blocks underwater.
  • Left 4 Dead generally lacks water and whatever bodies of water you do find are usually ankle to knee deep and slows you down when walking through it. Some custom maps can feature water that is deep enough to submerge you fully and you just walk on the bottom rather than swim. The sequel uses the same properties.
  • In the Genesis version of Ristar, the titular shooting star is able to swim underwater. In the Game Gear version, Ristar cannot swim underwater, but fortunately, he retains his Super Not-Drowning Skills.
  • In Primal, while main character Jen swims in three dimensions in her Undine form, her sidekick and second playable character Scree, a living gargoyle, does not. It's even lampshaded in dialogue that he will "simply sink to the bottom and walk."
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: In dialogue, Fane the Undead claims to need a ship off the island Penal Colony in Act I only because it would take too long to walk along the seabed to the mainland. In gameplay, water bodies block his movement like anyone else, even when it would be a shortcut across the Act's main Broken Bridge.
  • Justified to a dark degree in League of Legends with Nautilus, the Titan of the Depths. Originally a human deep sea diver, he was dragged into the abyss by a malevolent force which transformed him into... something encased in a warped facsimile of his heavy diving suit. The only way he could return to the surface was by dredging himself across the ocean floor in complete darkness until he could find land — naturally, it made him a little stir-crazy.
  • Also justified in Toy Story 2 with Buzz Lightyear being able to walk at the bottom of a swimming pool full of water in Andy's Neighborhood, since he's a toy and therefore does not need to breathe.

    Visual Novel 
  • Some story branches in Burly Men At Sea end with the Beard Brothers at the bottom of the ocean and walking back to dry land along the sea floor.

  • Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court, who is much heavier than her slender frame lets on, walked from a boat to the shore, rather than trusting her weight to a rickety pier.
  • The opening of Last Blood has a zombified nazi who was buried at sea walking out onto a beach to begin the outbreak.
  • The whole village of zombies in Looking for Group traveled across the sea to Kethenecia this way.
  • The Robot gets around the in Tellurion archipelago a lot this way. It forgets this at first when a guy becomes a companion. The solution to keep the guy along is to make a small raft and tie it off to the Robot's waist.
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic the Lich and his minions do this, complete with the page quote and pirate regalia, rather than ride in boats with the rest of the characters. They do arrive later that everyone else but show up at the battle at a very crucial time while making an impressive arrival marching out of the ocean and catching the enemy by surprise.
  • Questionable Content: Momo the Robot does this to sneak up on a friend who's swimming in a lake. Since he's able to hoist her out of the water, it's probably a matter of convenience rather than weight.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Centaurworld: In "Ride the Whaletaur Shaman!", Durpleton can't swim, but he can extend his neck far enough that he can just stand on the sea bottom without issue.
  • In Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Stitch does this at one point... in a swimming pool. He can't get away with this in the ocean due to his need to breathe.
  • The Little Mermaid: In "Double Bubble", there are two twin merbabies who crawl along the seafloor in the most improbable way, by dragging their tail. They're congratulated later when they take their "first swim".
  • The Looney Tunes short Wagon Heels has Injun Joe crossing a river this way. For comedic effect, he suddenly emerges on the other side the second his head submerges.
  • In Mighty Max this is how Skullmaster's army of soulless ones get around.
  • Napoleon Dynamite and his friends inexplicably do this in one cartoon.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder", Homer gets pulled out to sea by a rip tide and can't swim back. He tries to sink to the bottom and walk back, but gets exhausted after a few steps.
    • In "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", Principal Skinner is a Implacable Man who chases Bart after he skipped school. One scene features him crossing a river by apparently walking along the bed in reference to Westworld.
  • Gems in Steven Universe don't need to breathe, so they can just walk along the bottom of bodies of water:
    • In "Keystone Motel", Ruby angrily paces on the bottom of a swimming pool, giving off extreme heat that ends up boiling the whole pool dry.
    • At the end of "Crack the Whip", Jasper makes her exit via the shore, slowly sinking into the water as she goes out, in a way that suggests she's walking along the bottom.
      Stevonnie: Hmm... I guess she lives in the ocean now.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Metallo is seen doing this after apparently sinking to his doom.
  • Total Drama:
    • DJ is horrified by the sight of Heather with a facial in "Hook, Line and Screamer" and runs off screaming to the surveillance tent. On his way, he falls from a cliff into the water and just keeps running and screaming until he reaches the Dock of Shame and resumes running and screaming on land.
    • Presumably due to his coat filled with tools, B's weight makes him sink to the bottom of the lake when the boat is blown up in "Bigger! Badder! Brutal-er!". He makes the best of it and walks over to shore, picking up Cameron along the way.
  • The episode "Triangulation" of Transformers: Prime is set in the Antarctic and involves Starscream getting a set of Powered Armor that made him nearly invulnerable. However, due to the loss of his T-Cog, he was unable to fly, so Optimus and Dreadwing simply blew the ice out from under him to send him underwater. But since Starscream doesn't need to breathe (and the armor itself seems to be airtight since there's no sign of water leaking inside), he's seen wading along the seafloor at the end of the episode.
  • In X-Men: The Animated Series, when The Juggernaut meets The Gladiator, his one punching of him into the horizon led the X-Men to a collective Oh, Crap! moment. The Juggernaut landed in the middle of the ocean, where he sank to the bottom. He looked around, wasn't any worse for the wear, so he just started walking in a direction, bound for land at one point or another.

    Real Life 
  • This is what tanks do to tread water barriers. One of the reasons Germany had an edge over Soviet Union during the beginning of WW2 was that the Soviets wanted their light tanks to swim, rendering them too lightly armored to be of any use, while Germans made their tanks able to go underwater with snorkels and thus able to cross most rivers while retaining their combat capabilities.
    • This approach was rather less successful when they initially attempted to use it to cross The English Channel.
  • This is how hippos move. They are actually very poor swimmers, but are so dense they aren't buoyant in water and can walk on the river bottom. This allow them to move surprisingly easily in water. It does prevent them from being able to surface for air in deeper water, though they're capable of holding their breath long enough that this isn't much of an issue. Also, if they need to surface in relatively deep water, they can leap surprisingly high from the water bottom, though they immediately sink back.
  • Astronaut training typically includes practicing various tasks in space suits in water tanks. Candidates for possible future Moon or Mars landings will be required to do this in suits calibrated to simulate their weight at their target destination, so they'll do most of their work walking/bouncing on the tanks' bottom rather than free-floating above it.
  • The flamboyant cuttlefish is less buoyant than most cuttlefish species, due to its reduced cuttlebone. It normally moves by floating just above the muddy seabed and dragging itself forward with its bottom pair of arms.
  • This is how diving suits work: The suit is heavy enough to allow the diver to sink to the bottom and walk around, and kept pressurized with air from a pump on the support ship to stop the water from crushing them at depth, allowing the diver to freely walk underwater for as long as they have oxygen and their suit doesn't decompress. Of course, if something goes wrong, it's not a pretty sight.
  • The final exam of the German Kampfschwimmer (Combat Divers; allegedly more badass than their US counterparts, the SEALS, but slightly less impressive than the UK Special Boat Service) involves an apnoe walk around the bottom of a training pool, which is why until today, no woman has ever passed the test (lack of lung volume).
  • This is one of the methods that armadillos use to get across bodies of water. To cross larger stretches of water, they can also suck air into their intestines to help them float.
  • Chevrotains are small hoofed mammals that live in Africa and Southeast Asia. When threatened, they jump into water and walk across the bottom to hide from predators.