But all he ended up proving was that you shouldn't get drunk before trying to make such a trip.
John Morillo now describes what he did as "really stupid" - and something he shouldn't have tried.
Police seem to agree.
He did make it to Detroit and was headed back when an international rescue operation was launched and he was plucked from the river.
Morillo was cited for being intoxicated in a public place.
He has since been released from jail. Morillo also says he will probably be fined for swimming in a shipping channel.
That could set him back as much as $25,000.