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127. Can You Drown In The Dead Sea?

27 May

‘It is impossible to drown in the Dead Sea’, ‘No-one has ever drowned in the Dead Sea’ These are the words spoken by tens of thousands of people. Even ABC News, a fairly large news network in American, has published an article talking about the salty bowl of water. How cool, the perfect bathing spot. Well it would be, were it not for that they are all wrong. At best they not thinking about every type of drowning. Although that still makes them wrong.

This misconception arises from the fact that the Dead Sea is one of the most bizarre lakes (yes, LAKE) in the world. It is also the deepest hypersaline (salty) lake in the world. 420m below sea level. As well as being low, lying on the Jordan-Israel border it is also salty to a near excessive degree. Around 9 times as salty as the oceans of the world. The whole lake is 33.7% salt. This does of course, have side-effect.

The salt is all dissolved in the water, this makes all of the water much denser than normal water, making it uncomfortable to swim in. Furthermore it means that the water is denser than the human body which is 70%, unsalted water. Meaning it is impossible to sink in the Dead Sea. This is where the misconception rears its ugly head.

Think of someone drowning for a moment, entertain the notion if you will of someone drowning. Done? Good. Now let me guess what you thought. You thought of someone who couldn’t swim, they floundered and thrashed but they eventually fell beneath the surface and drowned, or something to that effect. Now, if you can’t sink, you can’t drown like that can you? Do not forget though, there is another way to drown, after all you only need to have your face in the water, and this is indeed what happens.

Floating in the Dead Sea involves the water pushing your body up with some noticeable force, because of the density of the water any movement is difficult. Still – some manage. People who believe they can’t drown turn themselves onto their fronts, then they have a problem.  The lake forces the body to lie flat and it makes it hard to turn. You can see the problem, weak swimmers cannot turn themselves back over; instead the lie face down in the deathly brine. Drowning.

Israel’s Government claims that the Dead Sea is the second most dangerous place to swim in Israel. First place taken by the Mediterranean Sea because there are a lot more bathers, the Dead Sea is much more likely to put you at risk were you to visit. Over the last 5 years alone at least 6 people and died and a further 120 or so have been rescued.

Salt-Evaporation Ponds

Salt evaporation in Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is named as such because the extreme salinity(saltiness) means no life can exist in it. Only rarely, when the rains dilute it, does the Dead Sea harbor, if temporarily, that basest of all life – bacteria. So yes, not only is it possible to drown in the Dead Sea, several people have and more will. On the bright side – no piranhas. On a further cheerier note the Dead Sea happens to be experiencing a trite little coincidence of great proportions. Thanks to extensive irrigation works on the water around and feeding into the lake flow is reduced; the Dead Sea is dying. How bizarre.

Further Reading

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20 responses to “127. Can You Drown In The Dead Sea?

  1. ejgef

    October 17, 2014 at 14:49

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  2. destiny strickland

    May 22, 2014 at 16:53

    cool

     
  3. karunya.s

    May 18, 2014 at 08:23

    dead sea is the world’s saltiest lake no one can drown in this sea

     
    • karunya.s

      May 18, 2014 at 08:26

      because of its high iodization no one can drown this !

       
    • Anonymous

      August 7, 2014 at 05:43

      You can. My friend’s friend’s father’s colleague’s friend drowned in the Dead Sea. Because his face is faced down, and he can’t turn himself over in time (high density!) He drowned.

       
    • Anonymous

      August 28, 2014 at 09:43

      It is possible to drown in the dead sea if your muscular and don’t know how to float and that’s because the density of muscles is more than fat. So a fat person is more likely to float than that who have huge muscles

       
  4. karl

    February 10, 2014 at 21:55

    And since you’re still working on your private, experimental blog, you
    don’t have to be afraid to mess up either. Here are 5 ways blogging sites that offer a broader
    range of ‘relevant’ topics can be of benefit to both the readers and blogger as well.

     
  5. Anonymous

    November 25, 2013 at 17:48

    this is emtrething wow

     
  6. Cripsy

    September 27, 2013 at 16:44

    when I heared that the dead sea dosnt sink Human being , I thought it will be a great fun seeing my self floating on d water. Now I kno its truely a dead sea.

     
  7. johnic

    August 27, 2013 at 13:48

    A boy went to school and was asked what he knew about the Dead Sea.He responded,”Dead?,I didn’t even know it was sick.”

     
    • Anonymous

      March 2, 2014 at 17:15

      my friend, what ancient army killed the dead sea

       
  8. Ayinde yinka williams

    February 21, 2013 at 15:38

    Interestine

     
  9. Pragya

    November 2, 2012 at 04:13

    Its like magic when i heard .But when i studied the article,i came to know that its very dangerous too.so be careful

     
  10. Random Guy

    July 13, 2012 at 10:34

    Just a correction: There is life in the DS. Some species of bacteria, algae and microbial fungus are present. ;)

    Sadly, those hardy species will likely die out in the near future due to the Dead Sea drying up. :(

     
    • Anonymous

      November 17, 2012 at 05:27

      This is really interesting. I can swim and all but I’m no Michael Phelps (or whatever his name is). I thought being able to swim in an environment where I wouldn’t have to worry about sinking to the bottom was a great idea but since it would be hard to move in the density of this ocean I think otherwise now.

       
    • SYLVESTER BRUCE

      March 2, 2014 at 17:19

      My friend, you are a true scientist.

       
      • wilson Mayor

        May 13, 2014 at 15:31

        thats ok with you Bruce.but. Does the NaCl and the dead sea water have an impact of lessering gravity acting on a human body

         
        • Anonymous

          July 6, 2014 at 19:01

          no value of gravity remains same but salty water increases the buoyancy level of water which ultimately results in floating of objects.

           

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