The Dead Sea’s shores sit at the lowest elevation on land on the planet. The Dead Sea is not really a sea at all, but rather a salt lake, bordered by Jordan and Israel. It is the seventh saltiest body of water on Earth— the Don Juan Pond in Antarctica is the saltiest.
You’ve probably heard that floating in the ocean is significantly easier than floating in fresh water, just because the ocean is comprised of salt water. Let’s dive deeper into that fact and explain why it is easier to float in salt water than in fresh water.
The Dead Sea’s salt concentration is 34%. This high concentration of salt makes the water very dense. Life cannot survive in that concentration of salt—hence the name. The human body, by comparison, is not as dense as the salt water. Therefore, humans float in the Dead Sea!
This concept explains why floats sit on top of fresh water. Filled mostly with air, a water float is not dense enough to sink into fresh water. Our bodies become buoyant.
Why is the Dead Sea so salty?
Many sources of freshwater feed into the world’s oceans. The fresh and saltwater mix and a salinity is reached. Salinity is the amount of salt minerals in the water. The Jordan River is the only freshwater that feeds into the Dead Sea. Because of the desert climate, the water evaporates very quickly. The very dense saltwater is what remains.
Unfortunately, the Dead Sea is shrinking. Over the past few decades, the Dead Sea has been drying up, as have the freshwater aquifers along the shoreline. When these aquifers dry up, sinkholes develop. There are thousands of these holes along the shoreline of the Dead Sea.
Going for a float
Experts say that it is likely too late to save the Dead Sea and it will eventually dry up. Just like the disappearing Maldive Islands, the Dead Sea will not be around forever. If you want to take a dip in one of the world’s saltiest spots, now is the time! To make sure you have a great float, follow these tips:
- Remember the old cliche “Rubbing salt in the wound”? 34% salinity means any little cut or scrap will burn in the water due to the salt. Skip shaving or waxing for a few days before you go!
- Don’t put your face in the water and don’t stay in for too long. Not only does the water taste bad, but if the salt gets in your eyes it will burn and immediately dry them out. Staying in for too long can also have a negative impact on your skin.
- You’ll notice the buoyancy as soon as you get into the water. You only have to be a foot or so deep and you can sit down, lean back, and float. It is actually impossible to sink or swim in the Dead Sea.
- Once you get out, make sure you take a shower! You will see plenty of evidence of salt on your skin as you air dry in the desert heat.
While swimming in the Dead Sea is technically impossible, be sure to visit Born to Swim before your trip for all your water accessory needs. Our swim caps will protect your hair from the salt, and our hand paddles can make navigating your float as simple as waving your hand. Visit our website today for more information on our top of the line swim gear.