Graveyard Shift
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The Darkest Secrets Behind Famous Bodies Of Water Around The World

Updated March 9, 2021 4k votes 618 voters 26.6k views12 items

List RulesVote up the aqueous fates you'd least like to suffer.

On a hot day, many people enjoy cooling off at the nearest body of water, be it a lake, river, or sea. While floating in the water might be relaxing, what lies below and around swimmers might make people consider sticking to dry land. Sea life, dangerous currents, and even chemical weapons could be lurking below water-goers, and dangerous storms could suddenly appear out of nowhere, creating large waves and extremely hazardous conditions.

While there's always a danger of drowning around any amount of water due to accidents, some bodies of water take danger to another level. Even accomplished swimmers and boaters may struggle in conditions in some areas, and the exceedingly high rates of fatality in these bodies of water prove they are some of the most dangerous. Danger doesn't always mean aggressive sea life or rip currents, however, and some lakes or seas may simply have an excess of contamination that can make people sick. A few even have bacteria so dangerous it's been known to claim lives. It's always important to follow water safety, watch for posted warnings, and listen to the instructions of lifeguards or the Coast Guard, but swimmers, boaters, and beachgoers visiting these spots should take extra care.

  • As part of the 1945 Potsdam Agreement, Allied forces took weapons away from Germany and dumped them into the Baltic Sea so no one could get their hands on them. Back then, no one apparently thought it was an issue to litter the sea with 65,000 tons of potenitally hazardous material. In 2013, scientists discovered that the seabed off the coast of Poland contained trace amounts of mustard gas, meaning the hazardous material may finally be returning.

    Researchers are not only concerned that the weapons are leaking, but they've also discovered hazardous materials in places where they shouldn't be. This means scientists have no idea exactly where the dangerous weapons are, and it will be that much harder to clean them up. Considering that the leaks taint the water and fish, thus contaminating the food chain, the forgotten WWII relics could pose a grave danger to the environment and anything, or anybody, in the water.

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  • 2

    Only The Surface Waters Of The Black Sea Are Safe For Living Creatures

    As a major tourist destination between Asia and Eastern Europe, millions of people visit the beaches, resorts, and islands of the Black Sea each year. The sea's surface may inspire many Instagram photos, but beneath the surface water lies an area much creepier. The Black Sea is a meromictic body of water, which means it features separate layers of water that do not mix together.

    While the water on the surface is friendly to visitors, the layer of water below it is completely devoid of oxygen. Nothing can survive in this zone, and creatures or ships that fall into the area take a long time to decompose. Shipwrecks and the remains of those who have drowned may still be seen hundreds of years after sinking. This gave rise to rumors and stories that the Black Sea is home to the deceased who lurk in its deep waters. When you really think about it, who wants to swim in that?

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  • 3

    Flesh-Eating Bacteria Is All Too Common In The Gulf Of Mexico

    The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico bring tourists and beachgoers to its shores every year, but little do they know that they might be swimming with flesh-eating bacteria. Because the water is warm and increases in temperature slightly each year due to global warming, bacteria like Vibrio vulnificus and Group A streptococcus have less difficulty growing. These bacteria and others thrive in the salty, warm water and tend to gather where rivers enter the gulf.

    They infect people after being consumed in raw shellfish, and can also use open wounds to enter the bodies of those who take a dip in the water. Once inside, the bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis, which infects and destroys tissues, including skin and internal organs. Infected people may have less than 72 hours to get treatment, which can include antibiotics, surgery, or possibly amputation before the condition becomes fatal. Don't cancel your trip to the beach just yet, though. While flesh-eating bacteria makes headlines and can induce nightmares, necrotizing fasciitis is actually pretty rare.

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  • 4

    Brighton Beach Has Suffered From Frequent Fecal Contamination

    In 2018, 16 million people visited New York City beaches including Brighton Beach, and many of those people may have come into contact with fecal contamination. The water that oblivious swimmers doggy-paddled through was often combined with water from the city's sewer. This can happen when rainwater enters the sewer, combines with sewage to create more material than pipes are designed to hold, and then enters the waterways as the sewer overflows. Contamination also comes from the land, as rain carries trash, pet waste, and other polluted materials into the ocean through runoff.

    According to 2018 records, this gross process happened every three days that year. Luckily, authorities monitor the city's beaches consistently and will post warnings if the water is unsafe. Finding a day that is safe, however, is growing increasingly difficult, as 276 of the 422 tested beaches reached an unsafe level at least once that year.

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