Ships, cigarette butts, trash, human waste and even dead bodies have been known to float through Baltimore's Inner Harbor waters, but this month, some brave souls and apparent tourists decided to willingly dive in.
A Youtube video posted on July 14 shows at least 15 people jumping in and taking dips in the harbor as many Baltimoreans look on, many of them with their phones out filming and screaming in disgust.
"They're from Chicago," said one onlooker. "They don't know no better."
Randallstown resident Jamone McKenzie, 20, captured the video and posted it under his Youtube username "Milksquad Psycho" with the caption, "These guys decided to think jumping in the inner harbor water was fun, but little do they know that the water is crawling with diseases!!!!!"
Adam Lindquist, the director of Waterfront Partnership's Healthy Harbor Initiative, saw the video and said he was surprised at how many people joined in. While there are no regulations on swimming in the harbor, Lindquist said he would not advise it.
"I would not recommend doing that. Our biggest pollution problem in the Baltimore Harbor is the raw sewage that’s overflowing or leaking from the city’s system," Lindquist said.
Lindquist said the harbor initiative is working to improve harbor waters and pollution, but the organization is "not there yet as far as full water recreation."
The harbor has gotten failing grades over the years despite initiatives like Mr. Trash Wheel —the solar- and water-powered wheel that picked up a reported record of 19 tons of trash in one day in April of last year — and the most recent recycling initiative, which gathered 55,000 cigarette butts over a six-month period, according to a news release.
Linquist noted the water might have been in better shape if there was not heavy rain or a storm before they went swimming, which can cause sewage to leak.
"If anything, if you’re going, it's best when it hasn’t rained for awhile because that's when the sewage levels really spike," he said.