Can a Boat Sink in the Dead Sea?

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The Dead Sea is a Salt Lake that is bordered by Jordan on the East and the West Bank and Israel in the West. Its main tributary is in fact the Jordan River and the Dead Sea lies in the Jordan Rift Valley as well. It is spread over an area of 605 kilometers square and has a maximum depth of 978 feet. It is one of the famous places on earth and as we go on you will see why.

Often when people hear about or study the Dead Sea they will learn that because of the incredibly high salt content people can sit or semi-stand  on the water without sinking but then people often wonder about boats. Can they even sink when they are on the Dead Sea? 

Surprisingly boats can actually sink on the Dead Sea if they are turned upside down or on end. The Dead Sea is denser than the human body which is why we can easily float on it but a boat turned upside down or on end is more dense than the Dead Sea and thereby it can sink. 

Of course as with a normal boat if the boat stays upright then it shouldn’t sink (although it won’t be of much use as moving a boat on the Dead Sea is incredibly difficult as well). 

The sea and the ocean are often considered as life-giving sources. It is a quite common and prevalent idea to depict the ocean as the womb of life. It is from where many living organisms give birth, grow up, and die. Even scientifically speaking, there would be no life if there was not enough water. 

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The place in fact is a rich site for many researchers from different fields due to its extensive stocks of various minerals. But how come then such a life-giving source be named with the name that contains the word dead?! Now we’re about to get to the part where we speak why the Dead Sea is one of the many and most famous places across the globe. The Dead Sea water is incredibly salty. Any organism that tries to get into the water body will inevitably perish so no life can actually survive in it. 

The Dead Sea, hence, is not a suitable place for inhibition by any organisms. Basically the Dead Sea has taken in so many minerals over the years that the water has become worthless for anything to live in, is undrinkable, and in general is nothing more than an oddity anymore. 

In the rest of this article we will cover some other questions that people often ask about the Dead Sea so you can understand this odd place a little more. 

Can ships sail in the Dead Sea?

There are in fact many biblical stories revolving around the Dead Sea. One of the most prominent of them is how King Herod used it at a spa, the Dead Sea being just at the border of Israel. It also states the instance as to how King David had made it into his retreat and so many more. But that is the Bible.

What does Science have to say about the place? We can’t rely on our conclusions and implications on religious texts. So here is why you should reconsider the idea of sailing a ship into the Dead Sea if you were having one.

It is stated that the salt content of the water body is so high that no organism can survive there. The ships cannot sail through the water, there either. The salt content prohibits any living organism from getting in the body of water. 

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To answer the raised question precisely, no, ships cannot sail in the Dead Sea. One would think that the salt increases the density of the water and hence makes it easier for you to sail through it. Even, maybe feel like flying through it. But just like the salt increases the density of the water body, it also renders the place devoid of life. No marine life can thrive in the Dead Sea, no animals can survive even around it. The level of salt in the water makes it impossible for the ship to move on the water body as well. 

Because of the density of the salt a ship could get on the Dead Sea but moving once it was would be difficult if not impossible so it quite simply isn’t done for that reason. 

What should you do if your ship is stuck in the Dead sea?

If your vessel somehow gets stuck inside the Dead Sea, it is best to abandon the ship as soon as possible. Be as cautious and safe as possible while coming out of the vessel. The kind of escape route you would choose would completely depend on the situation you were facing. A route via the land is most preferred. If you choose or rather have to choose a route via the water, then you must make it fast but yet keep it safe.

Can you swim in the Dead Sea?

Well, what we just learned is indeed dreadful. The amount of salt that the water body contains does not let any life thrive even anywhere near it. It is indeed amusing and weird as to how such a life-giving source such as water can render a complete area worthless for life but that is what it does. 

The fact remains that no organism can go near the place. It may occur, quite naturally that the excess amount of salt will account for a higher density of the water. That is indeed true as well. 

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A person can keep on floating in the Dead Sea for a long time and the density of the water due to the amount of salt present in the sea will help a person to float above the surface of the water with ease. However actually swimming in the Dead Sea would be impossible since actually moving around in the salt dense water would not be possible. 

So although you can technically float in the Dead Sea you can’t actually swim in it. 


Nature never ceases to amuse us. No matter how far technology has advanced, some secrets of the universe are bound to remain unexplored. 

The Dead Sea is a mine of precious minerals and so much more, but has this one major drawback. The excess salt and the absence of the water constantly flowing into it but never out turns out to be its major flaw. 

Nature has indeed a weird way of give and take and since the Dead Sea always takes but never gives it has become a dead place that is barren of life and life sustaining properties. While the scenic beauty and the mineral value of the place are immense, the Dead Sea is indeed a dead place. The source that is so very known for giving life, in this case doesn’t give live at all. 

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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