If I say to you that there is a sea where you will not drown no matter you know how to swim or not. Will you believe me? You will, once you scroll down.
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It’s a hypersaline lake that is truly one of Earth’s unique places. A hypersaline lake is a landlocked body of water that contains significant concentrations of sodium chloride or other mineral salts, with saline levels surpassing that of ocean water.
The surface and shores of the Dead Sea are 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level, making it Earth’s lowest elevation on land. It is 377 m (1,237 ft) deep, making it the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water and is roughly 8.6 times saltier than the ocean.
The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. In the Bible, it is a place of refuge for king David. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets. Tourists are encouraged to swim in its waters. There’s no fear of sharks. Almost nothing lives in the water. The Dead Sea is landlocked and in the lowest valley on earth. All the minerals of the surrounding countryside get washed into one pool, which in turn gets baked by the sun.
The Dead Sea water has a density of 1,240 kg/m3, which makes swimming similar to floating. 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. How cool is this? Now I say there is a problem and this place is not as cool as we are thinking.
People are drowning at Dead Sea. The old conception about the Dead Sea is not completely true. 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. All this salt has contributed to the myth that people cannot drown in the Dead Sea. It’s true that they can’t drown in the conventional way – slipping below the surface of the water. The more salt is dissolved in water, the denser it becomes. Objects in water stop sinking when they displace a mass of water equal to their body mass. In unsalted water, that means a large amount of the body is underwater – all of it for particularly dense people. In dense, salty water, a little body displaces a lot of mass, and most of the body stays out of the water. It’s hard to drown a person when most of their body is floating on top of the water like a cork.
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, and 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 they 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.
The Dead Sea is named as such because the extremesalinity(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 had and more will.