difference between rough and choppy sea

  • They can mean the same; I'd say that "rough" is more general and can be far more violent than "choppy." Choppy seas could be described as rough, but some conditions that could be described as rough would be too violent to describe as merely choppy.
    Hello TD ~ I'd say a rough sea is a bit rougher than a choppy one. You might expect to see choppy sea in breezy-to-fairly-windy weather, rough sea in windy-to-very-windy weather.
    A choppy sea has lots and lots of short, shallow waves.
    It is caused by a strong wind, often blowing against the tide. The short shallow waves are likely to be broken at the crest by the wind.

    A rough sea has longer and deeper waves.

    Out in a small boat on a choppy sea you will get wet from the spray; on a rough sea you will be going up and down so much you won't notice the spray ;)

    (It's all a bit subjective.)