The Most Dangerous Open Water Swims In The World

The Most Dangerous Open Water Swims In The World

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Societies around the world are frequently in military conflict over property, over religious issues, resources and myriad other issues. Wars, battles and invasions have always plagued mankind.


The contemporary world of the 21st century is no different. Peace has yet to disseminate globally without exception.

With North Korea shooting nuclear weapons over the Japanese archipelago and ongoing military conflicts happening from Mali to Afghanistan, soldiers and innocent locals are frequently gunned down, bombed, and injured as they experience the ravages of war with violent deaths, property damage and forced relocation.

Given this context, where might be the most dangerous places in the world to swim at this time? We refer to danger not due to the inherent risks of the open water like sharks and jellyfish, but danger due to man-made risks, and the threats of bullets and armaments.

In no particular order, these places to avoid include:

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (east of China, west of Japan): these dangerous shoals are concurrently claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan and could possibly ignite into a major regional conflict without diplomacy. Fighter jets have been scrambled over the islands over the past month.

Tiachi Lake (North Korea/China): if you could get into North Korea to swim across the crater lake nearest the birth place of North Korean legend Kim Jong-il, you might not return home.

Syria coast: swimming along the northern Syrian coast – a proposed area for a FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix race as late as 2010 – during the Syrian civil war between the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Ba’ath Party government and their protesters is to tempt fate.

Lake Nubia (Sudan): Doing a 35 km marathon swim across the width of the largest man-made lake in the world would be a first, if you could avoid the more southernly conflicts between rival nomadic tribes that have resulted in thousands of deaths and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Hunza River (northwest Pakistan): Cold water specialists might enjoy a downstream swim along the Hunza River in northern Pakistan since it is fed by glacier run-off, but there are all kinds of land-based risk due to the ongoing fight between the Pakistan Armed Forces and armed religious groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Islam, and groups of organized crime.

May peace break out the world over.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association