National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
 
 

Preliminary data on fatalities which occurred in the surf zones across National Weather Service areas of forecast responsibility through September 25, 2022. This data is preliminary and locations of fatalities are approximate. Click on the location of a drowning for additional information. The GIS map below can also be found here. Data can be download here.  A GIS Dashboard is also available which shows drownings based upon user selected parameters.

2022 Preliminary Surf Zone Fatalities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Rip Current High Surf Other Current Unknown Other

Click on Column Header in Table Below To Sort

Rip
Current

High
Surf

Sneaker
Wave

Other
(see Key)

Not
Known

Location

ST

M/F

Age

Date

X         Los Tubos Beach, Manati PR M 21 1/2
        X Muir Beach CA M 29 2/7
X         Fort Lauderdale FL M NA 2/11
X         La Concha Beach PR M 12 2/20
X         Flamenco Beach PR M 40 2/21
X         Hana's Koki Beach HI F NA 3/1
X         Palm Beach FL M 64 3/6
X         Shell Castle Beach PR F 66 3/8
X         Omond Beach FL F 53 3/14
  X       Jade Cove CA M NA 3/19
  X       Ulmonia Beach GU M NA 3/19
  X       Ulmonia Beach GU M NA 3/19
X         Pozza la Mujeres(Manati) PR M 30 3/25
X         Seven Seas(Fajardo) PR M 71 3/30
X         Daytona Beach Shores(3621 S. Atlantic Ave) FL M 13 4/10
X         Daulphin Island AL F 18 4/13
X         Santa Isabel PR F 56 4/15
      X   Myrtle Beach (72nd Ave. N) SC F 14 4/15
X         Condado Beach PR M 49 4/20
X         Huguenot Park FL M 20 4/23
      X *4   St Luis Pass TX M 17 4/30
X         Palm Beach FL M 47 5/2
X         Flamenco Beach PR M 58 5/4
X         Orange Beach AL M 14 5/21
X         McKinley Marina WI F 16 5/23
X         Oak Island NC M 36 5/28
      X   Crab Island FL M NA 5/29
      X (tides)   near Shelter Cove CA F NA 5/29
X         Wildwood Crest Beach NJ M 19 5/31
      X   Gulf State Park AL M 49 6/4
X         Wildwood Crest Beach NJ M 53 6/7
      X *6   Jamaica Bay NY M 13 6/10
      X *6   Jamaica Bay NY M 13 6/10
X         Myrtle Beach SC M 21 6/13
X         Island Beach State Park NJ F 59 6/13
X         Oak Island NC F 67 6/14
X         Mission Beach CA M 18 6/14
X         Rockaway Beach (Beach 108th St.) NY F 16 6/17
X         Rockaway Beach (Beach 98th St.) NY M 18-20 6/17
X         New Symnra FL F 68 6/18
X         Playa Vacia Talega PR F 41 6/19
        X Kill Devil Hills NC F 37 6/23
        X Myrtle Beach SC M 21 6/26
X         Porter Beach SC M NA 6/27
X         Oak Island NC M 52 7/3
        X Emerald Island NC M 57 7/7
X         Daytona Beach FL M 14 7/8
X         Panama City Beach FL M 70 7/8
        X Top Sail Beach NC M 39 7/9
        X Indiana Dunes State Park IN M 72 7/10
        X Marquette Park Beach IN F 9 7/12
X         Near Pennoyer Park WI M 51 7/12
      X *10   North Beach Park (Ferrysburg) MI M 16 7/13
      X *10   North Beach Park (South Haven) MI M 7 7/13
      X *10   North Beach Park (South Haven) MI M 33 7/13
X         Ditch Plains Beach NY M 31 7/19
      X *10   Pere Marquette MI M 18 7/24
X         Punta Arean Beach PR M 61 7/25
X         Daulphin Island AL M 30s 7/31
X         Sardinera Beach PR M 50 8/3
X         Seaside OR M 50s 8/20
      X *5   Ocean City MD M 78 9/6
X         Long Beach NJ M 51 9/10
X         Ortley Beach NJ M 51 9/14
42 3 0 12 7         Total: 64

Key: 1: longshore current, 2: tidal current, 3: outlet current, 4: structural current, 5: shore break, 6: strong current, 7: channel current, 8: inlet current, 9: sandbar, 10: waves and dangerous currents
*American Samoa, ? : unknown

Accurately tracking these types of fatalities is difficult because so many go unreported and undocumented. Due to the difficult nature of tracking surf zone fatalities; these data may not match other sources.

  • Surf Zone: area of water between the high tide level on the beach and the seaward side of the breaking waves. The NWS officially categorizes surf zone fatalities caused by three types of hazards; Rip Current, High Surf and Sneaker Wave (see definitions below).
  • Rip Current: A relatively small-scale surf-zone current moving away from the beach. Rip currents form as waves disperse along the beach causing water to become trapped between the beach and a sandbar or other underwater feature. The water converges into a narrow, river-like channel moving away from the shore at high speed.
  • High Surf: Large waves breaking on or near the shore resulting from swells spawned by a distant storm.
  • Sneaker Wave: Large wave that suddenly swamps a beach/coast and takes people by surprise sweeping them into the water.

Occasionally, there are surf zone fatalities caused by other hazards such as unusual waves and currents. These hazards fall in the “Other” category. “Other” is not an official category defined by the NWS. Rip Currents cause a large of percentage of the surf zone fatalities in the United States. Typically, a victim of a surf zone hazard is a male between the ages of 10-29. Most of the fatalities occur during the months of June and July and in the NWS Southern Region.