The Most Dangerous Bodies of Water in the World

What seems like a serene place to take a dip may actually be one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world. The bizarre thing about lethal bodies of water is that many of them look like regular swimming holes. Read on to learn about the most dangerous lakes, rivers, and seas all over the world.

1. Boiling Lake

Boiling Lake

They don’t call it the boiling lake for nothing. | pabst_ell/iStock/Getty Images

Boiling Lake is located in Dominica’s Morne Trois Pitons National Park. As you may have guessed, swimming is strictly prohibited because the water can reach boiling temperatures in a matter of seconds with little to no warning. Why is the water so hot? Temperatures can reach up to 197°F due to hot air spurts from beneath the ground, also: nearby lava.

Next: The most dangerous body of water in Texas

2. Jacob’s Well

Jacob's Well, Texas

The caves are dangerous especially for inexperienced divers.| Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0./Wikimedia Commons

Jacob’s Well, located in Texas, is home to some of the most dangerous diving caves in the world. The mouth is a 30-foot deep natural well that opens up at the bottom to a broad network of caves that many inexperienced divers never leave. There are various signs posted around the well reading “STOP. PREVENT YOUR DEATH! GO NO FARTHER,” along with facts concerning the frequent cave deaths.

Next: This body of water will burn your skin and eyes. 

3. Lake Natron

Lake Natron

The animals who live their are specially adapted to the environment. | derejeb/iStock/Getty Images

If a body of water is unfit for life, it’s a good bet that it’s unfit for swimming. Lake Natron, located in northern Tanzania, reaches temperatures of 120°F, is covered in a red salt crust, and has a pH level as high as 10.5, making it pretty unsuitable for living creatures. In fact, it can burn the skin and eyes of animals that aren’t adapted to the lake’s specific makeup. Because the lake’s crusted salt has a red tint to it, and it’s a popular spot for flamingos, it can be a cool place to visit. Just don’t take a dip while you’re at it.

Next: A dangerous, bright red river

4. Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto

The red water is a sight to behold, but don’t touch. | alfredosaz/iStock/Getty Images

The Rio Tinto, or the Tinto River, in Spain is absolutely saturated with copper, iron, and heavy metals thanks to heavy fossil excavation through the years. The river’s acidity is also notably high. Rio Tinto is still a beautiful place to visit (but not swim), though, because the river’s ecosystem of bacteria that oxidizes metals found in the water causes the water to turn a poignant, bright red.

Next: Jacques Cousteau called this dangerous swimming hole one of the best places for diving.

5. Great Blue Hole

Great Blue Hole Belize

It’s stunningly beautiful, but dangerous. | U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)/Wikimedia Commons

The Great Blue Hole, found in Belize, isn’t dangerous for its acidity or bacteria — it’s dangerous because of its violent tides. If the tumultuous tides aren’t dangerous enough for you, the Great Blue Hole also periodically spouts huge, powerful columns of water up into the air. Despite the threatening nature of the sinkhole, many people still seek it out because the great Jacques Cousteau called it one of the best places for diving on Earth.

Next: a lake that emits carbon dioxide

6. Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake

The trees around the lake are pretty much dead. | David McNew/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Located in California, Horseshoe Lake is deadly because of the carbon dioxide it emits. The CO2 is deadly to the lake’s surrounding life — you’ll notice that the trees growing within 100 acres of the lake are all dead. Thankfully, this body of water isn’t easy to accidentally stumble upon as it’s heavily marked with signs warning of the severe danger.

Next: A passage that’s known as “The Ship Cemetery” 

7. Drake Passage

Drake Passage Killer Whales

The strong currents have been the end of many ships. | robert mcgillivray/iStock/Getty Images

The Drake Passage is located right between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antartica. The Drake Passage is considered dangerous because of its 80 miles per hour winds, strong currents, and poor visibility. Understandably, this passage is known as a ship cemetery as it’s been responsible for the crashing of countless boats from Magellan’s time on.

Next: A lake known for its blood-sucking inhabitants 

8. Lake Champlain


Lampreys will attack humans. | MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images

You may recognize Lack Champlain from the 2014 movie, Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys. As you may have guessed, several Lake Champlain lamprey attacks served as inspiration for the film. Lampreys are ancient, blood-sucking, snake-like fish that latch onto other fish with their razor sharp teeth to feed on their blood and nutrients. Oh, and they also attack humans. Especially in British rivers and lakes, lampreys are on the rise, so always make sure that there hasn’t been any recent lamprey attacks prior to taking a dip in a British body of water.

Next: One of the world’s only exploding lakes

9. Lake Nyos

Lake Nyos

Pockets of magma will occasionally erupt killing people and animals.  | Frédéric Mahé/Wikimedia Commons

Lake Nyos can be found in Cameroon, and is one of the world’s only exploding lakes. Lake Nyos erupts periodically due to a pocket of magma that fills the lake with carbonic acid. In 1986, the lake released a huge plume of carbon dioxide killing about 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock.

Next: The Dead Sea isn’t as safe as you think. 

10. The Dead Sea

Dead Sea seashore with palm trees and mountains on background

It can be hard to flip back over if you’re face down. | vvvita/Getty Images

Though the Dead Sea may seem like an impossible place to drown thanks to the buoyancy it gives swimmers in its salty waters, it was actually named the second most dangerous place to swim in Israel. You can absolutely drown in the Dead Sea, just not in the normal way. When a person’s floating on his back, there’s no problem. But if he turns around and starts floating on his stomach, the water is so dense that it can be hard to stand up or even push his limbs down into the water to turn onto his back again. If you do want to try your back at floating along the Dead Sea, it’s always safer to head to an area where there’s a lifeguard on duty.

Next: A deadly combination  

11. Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

The danger is hiding below. | EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Getty Images

Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. Though it may look like a normal lake, there are layers of carbon dioxide and 55 billion cubic meters of methane that can be found in the water’s depths. Because of this deadly combination, even a small earthquake could cause a devastating explosion capable of killing a mass amount of people.

Next: the infamous Bermuda Triangle 

12. Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda Triangle Ship Wreck

The Bermuda Triangle has been known to sink ships. | Bridgendboy/iStock/Getty Images

You can’t have a list of dangerous waters without the Bermuda Triangle. The Bermuda Triangle, located in the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, is a mysterious location that’s responsible for the disappearance of countless ships and planes. Christopher Columbus reported strange compass readings around the Triangle, Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is said to have been based on the mystical waters, and countless fiction writers have been inspired by the spooking disappearances surrounding the area. To this day, scientists and theorists alike don’t have a clear answer for why ships and planes simply disappear around this body of water.

Next: Lake Michigan is surprisingly dangerous.

13. Lake Michigan

Indiana Dunes, Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan has extremely fast moving currents. | iStock/Getty Images

Like the Bermuda Triangle, Lake Michigan is also responsible for a notorious plane crash. And similarly to the Bermuda Triangle, there was no logical reason behind it. NWA Flight 2501 was one of the worst plane crashes in history with all 58 passengers going down with the plane over Lake Michigan. To this day, the plane has not been recovered. In addition to the strange air activity above the lake, it’s also a dangerous body of water due to its fast-forming currents.

Next: The Diver’s Cemetery

14. Blue Hole

Blue Hole Dahab

One of the most dangerous diving spots in the world. | Whitcombe RD/iStock/Getty Images

The Blue Hole, located in Dahab, is one of the most dangerous diving locations in the world. Many divers have lost their lives in this 400 foot deep cave, earning the nickname “Diver’s Cemetery.” The main cause of death is reportedly nitrogen narcosis — or, insufficient air capacity upon ascent.

Next: a beautiful place to visit as long as you stay out of the water

15. Romney Marsh

Leech therapy

You may find yourself covered in leeches after a dip. | sdigital/iStock/Getty Images

Located between the hills of the English Channel, Romney Marsh is a beautiful place to visit. Enjoy the historic towns, quaint villages, ancient churches, and much more on a trip to the marsh. Do, however, watch out for the leeches in the water. When visiting Romney Marsh, it’s better to stick to dry land. If you find yourself even ankle-deep in the marsh’s wetlands, you may just pull out a foot covered in these blood-sucking segmented worms.

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