Posted in Louisiana
September 19, 2022
The endless waterways of Louisiana are one of the many reasons why this state is naturally beautiful. Of course, the Mighty Mississippi is Louisiana’s Queen of Rivers, but one of its branches is another popular river for many locals to spend their days fishing, boating, and even swimming. What many don’t realize when they get into the water is that the Amite River is one of the most dangerous rivers in Louisiana, and there are a few things you should know before diving in.
Stretching for approximately 112 miles, the Amite River is one of the most beautiful rivers in Louisiana, but also one of the most deadly.
On the surface, it appears calm and peaceful, but just below the surface is where the danger lurks. Keep in mind that you can’t see the bottom. Seeing so many Louisiana rivers so low…think inches instead of feet. And if the stream is really moving, the silt rises which results in less visibility.
With the 37-mile lower part of the river navigable, it’s a popular river for boaters and fishermen hoping to catch a largemouth bass, or award-winning catfish.
And if you stay in the boat, there is much less danger. This is the real threat when you get out of the boat or into a less durable (inflatable) boat.
There is a stretch of river near Watson/Denham Springs which is also a popular place for tubing during the summer months, and this is one of the most dangerous areas of the river.
In general, the average river depth is 3-4 feet, but some areas can be as deep as 10 feet, which can be tricky. The river is also prone to flooding, which brings stronger currents and silt deposits to parts of the river that are just disasters waiting to happen.
Nine people have died along this part of the river since 2009, including two in 2021, in addition to countless rescues.
But even long before the stretch of river near Watson became a popular spot for tubing, there was a private water park nearby called Thunderbird Beach that was just as dangerous. There were seven drownings between 1960-1989.
Not only is the fast current extremely dangerous, but what lies at the bottom of the river is the real danger.
What you can’t see always becomes the real threat. Dangerous flows, especially downstream are the cause of many deaths. Pictured above is a cruise ship on the Amite River circa 1895 when the river was more navigable.
The river has not been dredged since 1956, which means there is a lot of debris at the river bed.
The 2016 flood added more debris to the river, resulting in more dangerous flows that even the strongest swimmers struggle with. These streams can quickly drag you below the surface, and with a strong current plus debris that can easily trap you, it’s just a generally lethal combination.
If you decide to go swimming or hiking in the Amite River, it is always a good idea to wear a life jacket. There are plenty of bodies of water in Louisiana that are safer to splash in, maybe consider one of them instead.
Tabuk: Amit River, Louisiana, USA