Coming in all ranges and sizes, here are the top fastest sea animals (ranked from ten to first) that conquer the ocean world, in terms of sheer speed, and are a force to be reckoned with. Let’s see who takes the crown of the fastest swimmer in the sea.

Killer Whale

Speed: 55 kph/34 mph
Interesting Fact: Hunts together as a group

A Killer Whale jumping out of the waters near a coast
The Killer Whale are fast moving predators of the sea

One of the not-so-nice animals of the ocean, Killer Whales are next on this list for the fastest animal in the waters. Despite the name Killer Whale, also known as Orcas, these mammals are actually part of the dolphin family. They are in fact the largest dolphin species on the planet. They travel and hunt together in ‘pods’ consisting of 5-20 individuals. Killer whales have hydrodynamic bodies that help them get to a top speed of 55 kph which aids them as a predator.


Speed: 58 kph/36 mph
Interesting Fact: Very shiny scales make them easily distinguished

Barracuda with silver scales swimming in the open ocean
Barracuda ‘missile-like’ shape helps it reach fast speeds

Credit: Mar Rojo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

With a long and thin body that is made for traversing fast through the waters, Barracudas can swim at a speed of 58 kph. Due to their speed and size, reaching up to 5 feet, predators are not so lucky when it comes to catching them. This missile-like fish is also very distinct because of its very shiny silver scales. Barracudas are predators themselves with great eyesight and precise hunting skills.


Speed: 62 kph/38.5 mph
Interesting Fact: They belong to the tuna family

The Bontio fish can swim over 60 kph, even in shallow waters

Credit: Felipe Cancian CC-BY-SA-3.0

The next Olympic swimmer of the seas is the Bonito fish also known as the Sardini Tribe. They belong to the tuna, mackerel, and kingfish family. Although they might not look anything special, these medium-sized predatory fishes can swim at a recorded speed of 62 km per hour. That’s faster than an average shark!

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Speed: 69 kph/42.8 mph
Interesting Fact: Is an endangered species on the margin of extinction

Bluefin tuna swimming near a coral reef
Bluefin tuna are considered heavy fish, but incredibly fast

Though Bluefin Tunas are considered heavy (450 kg) they are also surprisingly one of the fastest fish in the ocean. This weighty fish can swim at boasting speeds of 69 kph and dive down to depths of 1600 ft. Because they are one of the main tuna species caught in commercial fishing, Bluefin Tunas are now at the margin of extinction. They are mostly found in the North Atlantic Ocean. Since international regulators refuse to bring in fishing restrictions to protect this fish, it’s up to consumers and the general public to raise awareness and stop their population decline.

Flying Fish

Speed: 70 kph/43.5 mph
Interesting Fact: They can fly out of the water

Flying fish jumping above the surface of the ocean
The Flying Fish is quick to escape predators, and can jump/fly out of the water

Credit: Jack Snipe CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A fish that fascinates both the average man and scientists alike is the Flying Fish. True to its name, this fish can actually fly. Using its forked tails as a whip, it shoots out of the water in a frenzy. Then it spreads its wing-like pectoral fins (similar to how a bird starts flight from land). As the wind passes under and over the wings, it helps them fly above the water. Flying fishes can race up to 70 kph maximum speed allowing them to effectively escape predators.

Pilot Whale

Speed: 76 kph/47 mph
Interesting Fact: Intelligent and sociable creatures that travel in pods

Pilot whales swimming together in pods
Pilot Whales are sociable and very fast marine animals

Another mammal with “whale” on the name is in fact a dolphin. Pilot Whales are intelligent and sociable creatures that are also fast swimmers. They can leap to speeds reaching 76 kph. Pilot whales got the name because it was believed that each pod had a ‘pilot’ that navigated for them. There are two species of Pilot Whale, one with long fins and the short-finned Pilot Whale. These whales, unfortunately, get washed up on beaches in large groups. This could be because of their herding instincts that make the entire pod stick together even if one gets sick or stranded. Short-Finned Pilot Whale females are on of the small number of mammals that go through menopause.

Mahi Mahi

Speed: 93 kph/57.8 mph
Interesting Fact: Has a prominent forehead and contrasting colored body

An illustrated version of the Mahi Mahi fish
The Mahi Mahi fish reaches fast speeds with its streamlined body

Credit: Nosha CC BY-SA 2.0

Identified by their prominent forehead and what may look like a constant scowl on their fish face, Mahi Mahi lives in both tropical and subtropical waters around the globe, such as the Indian oceans. They are easily recognized by their shining metallic blue-green color that contrasts with the ocean around them. Their sleek bodies and forked tails allow them to swim as fast as 93 kph.


Speed: 96 kph/59.6 mph
Interesting Fact: Their sword is used to swipe at prey

An illustration of a Swordfish
The swordfish is very quick due to a gland that helps coat their heads in oil

Credit: Citron CC-BY-SA-3.0

Looking like an elegant sword (perhaps not quite) floating around the ocean, swordfishes are one of the most popular swimmers in the waters. They are found around depths of 550m and can swim at an incredible speed of 96 kph. They are one of the most valuable fish species in the Mediterranean Sea. Another intriguing fact that scientists have discovered is that swordfishes get their speed because of the gland that helps them coat their heads in oil.


Speed: 105 kph/65 mph
Interesting Fact: Marlin are closely related to the swordfish

Stripped Marlin jumping out of the ocean waters
The Marlin can exceed speeds of 100 kph

Credit: Dominic Sherony CC BY-SA 2.0

While Sailfishes are the fastest fish in the sea, the only ones that can probably keep up with them are the Marlin fish. Although both a part of the istiophoridae family, Marlins can be easily differentiated because of the two different colors in one body (dark color above and silver below), and their long thin snouts. These fishes live in the tropical waters of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. There are many different types of Marlin, including Black Marlin and the Atlantic Blue Marlin. Marlins are known to swim at blinding speeds of 105 kph making them almost impossible to catch.


Speed: 110 kph/68 mph
Interesting Fact: Has large sail-like dorsal fin

Sailfish hunting sardines in the open ocean off the coast of Mexico
The Sailfish is the fastest sea animal in the world

Credit: Rodrigo Friscione

The fastest fish to swim the seas, Sailfish sprints at an incredible speed of 110 kph. They get their name from their huge dorsal fin that looks like a sail. This fin helps them to cut through the water as they move. Scientists estimate that these fishes can leap at 68 miles per hour out of the water which is as fast as a cheetah! Sailfishes are feisty and can fight vigorously if they are hooked. They can grow up to 10 feet long as well.  They are found in the Atlantic and Indo-pacific oceans in warm temperatures.


Which sea animal is the fastest?

The Sailfish is the fastest sea animal, reaching an impressive 110 kph, or 68 mph when jumping out of the water. Due to its large sail-like dorsal fin, it can generate significant speed.