It’s no longer safe to be in water in Minecraft any more. Actually, nowhere in Minecraft in general is safe, because there are so many enemies that wander around, even during the day. But water was the one place I considered to always be safe and it really isn’t any more.
I’m not saying that water used to be better. In fact, bodies of water used to be pretty crap. Back in Minecraft 1.8 (and a lot of previous versions as well), water was boring. There was literally nothing in it apart from, well, water. Oceans were vast, empty masses with bottoms filled with nothing but sand and gravel. Occasionally one would find an island but it would be small and empty and probably lifeless. And early on, with the changes in generation when Minecraft left Beta, oceans would get bigger and bigger until you reached the edge of the world – thankfully that’s not the case any more.
The oceans remained empty for a long, long time until Ocean Monuments were added, but accessing them has always been a major pain in the backside. You NEED water breathing potions just to be able to access the area and you spend your entire time being shot at by spiky eyeballs with fish tails. There’s not even much inside them aside from Sponges, Sea Lanterns and Prismarine blocks of various types, but the effort to get these items far outweighs the reward. There aren’t even chests inside Ocean Monuments!
Aside from the rare chance of finding an Ocean Monument in a Deep Sea biome, oceans were still always lifeless. Nothing but bare, endless underwater valleys of sand and gravel. The only other features you could find would be the odd cave or ravine opening up in the ocean floor, but you can get those anywhere.
Still, oceans always had one good use. You could always safely sail across them to travel to new lands. There’s no risk of being chased, swarmed or killed as long as you have your boat and don’t swim over an Ocean Monument. It was the one safe area you could be, aside from the ultra rare Mushroom Islands.
In the most recent versions of Minecraft though, 1.13 and 1.14, all bodies of water are filled with life. There are dolphins and salmon and all the kelp you could ever wish for. In fact, there’s kelp everywhere, in lakes and deep rivers as well as in the ocean. You can also stumble upon ship wrecks and boats of various sizes, as well as coral reefs. There’s certainly a lot more to explore in water biomes. They’re not longer featureless landscapes. The coral reefs in particular are very nice.
But things aren’t easy. There are also enemies. Reskinned zombies that live in water and can swim as fast as you can. The Drowned are literally just that, underwater zombies, complete with baby versions. And of course they don’t burn while on land in the sunlight, the same way Husks don’t.
A quick aside, I think Husks suck. It’s bad enough that deserts are lifeless and lame and horrible in Minecraft, it’s even worse that it’s filled with daytime zombies that can see you and chase you down from up to 40 blocks away. Desert villages do little to make things better since they just get overrun by zombies anyway.
But yeah, Drowned are a nuisance as well, doubly so because they can attack from any direction. They can swim the same way you can, in a 3d space.
Sure, you don’t want oceans to be 100% safe, but I’d like there to be somewhere that’s mostly safe. Nope, after filling every space with zombies, desert zombies and not-dead-yet zombie pillagers and illagers, we have to deal with underwater zombies as well.
These days, the only place that’s safe is your well-lit home. And only then it’s only safe if you sleep in your bed every night.