The July 4th holiday is upon us in Louisiana.  School kids have been out in cities like Lafayette, New Iberia, Opelousas, and Crowley for more than a month. That means our mindset along the bayou is less about school days and more about sun days. That's the sun as in fun in the sun as opposed to our weekly day of rest.

Woman in Bikini on Beach
Ivan Mikhaylov, ThinkStock

The July 4th holiday falls on a Thursday. Not the best day of the week but at least it's not a Wednesday. And for a lot of us, the Fourth of July means getting in or on the water. We love to take the boat out to our secret fishing spot and we also love to water ski.

But then again, there is something that is quite relaxing about just going with the flow. You know, taking a float trip down a scenic Louisiana waterway. We have our tubes, our friends, and our tubes for our drinks, and what could go wrong?

Bogue Chitto Tubing Center, Facebook
Bogue Chitto Tubing Center, Facebook

Drownings Are On The Increase in Louisiana

From 2020 to 2021 Louisiana saw an increase of 60% in the number of reported drownings. Many of these fatal mishaps occurred in backyard swimming pools or more structured bathing facilities. However, there were more than a few that happened in our state's lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

This got us to wonder, what is Louisiana's most dangerous body of water.

Louisiana Department Of Wildlife and Fisheries
Louisiana Department Of Wildlife and Fisheries Facebook

At first blush, we contemplated the Mississippi River. It's a very busy waterway and the opportunity for a mishap is quite plentiful. Fortunately, in order to pilot a vessel on the Father of Waters you have to be trained and licensed.

Then we contemplated the Gulf of Mexico. Every year we hear of fatal mishaps that involved the coastal waters of Louisiana. But the problem with the Gulf is where do you draw the line. If a cruise boat passenger sailing from Louisiana falls off the boat near Mexico, is that still a "Louisiana Gulf of Mexico" mishap? 


Louisiana's Most Dangerous Body of Water is 112 Miles Long

We did some snooping online and discovered through the website, Only in Your State, that the most treacherous body of water in Louisiana only covers a very short distance. To the untrained eye, the surface of the water looks to be calm and peaceful but the danger is lurking beneath the whiskey-brown shade of water that is slowly flowing by.

The body of water listed by Only in Your State as the most dangerous in Louisiana is the Amite River. The river is very popular with sportsmen, especially in the lower 30 some odd miles. So there is a lot of traffic in that part of the river but that's not why the Amite earns the title of "Most Dangerous".

Tiki Tubing
Tiki Tubing

Why Is the Amite River Louisiana's Most Dangerous Body of Water?

The answer to that is two-fold. The river is dangerous because of the limited visibility. You can't see more than a few inches underwater, that is if you could even stand to open your eyes. So, things that go into the water are seldom seen again. There are also a lot of hidden branches, trees, and debris that can snag a person's foot while they are swimming.

The second and probably the biggest reason the Amite River is considered to be the "most dangerous" has to do with the popularity of the river. Not only do fishermen love the Amite but those who love a good float trip flock to the Amite River as soon as it's warm enough to get in the water.

Tiki Tubing Guy

The sheer volume of people creates more opportunities for tragedy especially when you mix in abundant sunshine, coolers of alcohol, and a laissez-less bon temps rouler attitude.

Fortunately, most people who float the Amite River do so with a group. That means people looking out for people. If you do plan on floating this river or any body of water this summer, make sure you have a friend too. Never swim alone and don't ever dive into water that you don't know the depth of. Be safe and have fun and remember it is not the river that's dangerous, it's the actions of the people on the river that cause the problems.

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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells

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