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Preliminary data on fatalities which occurred in the surf zones across National Weather Service areas of forecast responsibility through October 15, 2021. 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.

2021 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         Pompano Beach FL M 50 1/1
        X Mendocino CA M 45 1/2
  X       Blind Beach CA M 40 1/3
  X       Blind Beach CA M 4 1/3
  X       Blind Beach CA F 7 1/3
  X       Point Bonita CA M 30s 1/10
  X       Pascadero State Park CA F unkn 1/10
  X       Pacific Beach State Park WA F 54 1/10
    X     Near Mouth of Alsea River OR F 60 1/15
  X       Cowell Ranch State Beach CA M 12 1/18
X         Cueva del Indio Beach (Arecibo) PR M 54 1/24
X         Concha Beach PR M unkn 2/7
X         Los Tortugas Beach PR M 56 2/7
X         Moss Landing State Park CA M unkn 2/21
X         Cane Bay St. Croix M unkn 3/1
X         Cagnus (Rio Grande) PR F 58 3/2
X         Poza de las Mujeres (Manati) PR M 42 3/3
X         Rio Grande PR M 41 3/3
X         Miramar Beach FL M 54 3/16
X         Ft. Pickens FL M 71 3/27
X         Miramar Beach FL M 42 3/28
X         Johnson Beach FL M 62 3/28
  X       Silver Beach MI M 27 3/28
X         Crash Boat Beach  in Aguadilla, PR PR M 65 3/28
X         La Pared beach in Luquillo PR M unkn 3/28
X         Rio Grande PR F 48 3/31
X         Miami Beach FL M 42 3/31
X         Miami Beach FL M 49 3/31
X         Miramar Beach FL M 21 4/8
X         Miramar Beach FL M 25 4/8
X         Surfside Beach TX M 42 4/10
X         Condado PR M 48 4/16
X         Condado PR F 32 4/16
X         Kure Beach NC F 40 4/18
X         Tanguisson Beach GU F 40 4/24
X         Surfside Beach TX M 22 5/2
X         Galveston Beach TX M 22 5/2
X         Myrtle Beach SC M 16 5/10
X         Galveston Beach TX M 8 5/11
X         Playalinda Beach FL M 58 5/16
    X     Cruz Beach CA M unkn 9/26
  X       Cowell Ranch State Seashore CA M 12 5/18
X         Cape Canaveral FL M 50 5/19
X         Far Rockaway NY F 60s 5/22
X         Ocean City (5th St) MD M mid 20s 5/23
X         Huguenot State Park FL M 31 5/23
X         Padre Island TX M 18 5/23
X         Fernandina Beach FL M 37 5/24
        X Rockaway Beach OR M 37 5/31
X         Long Beach WA M 14 5/31
X         La Concha beach PR F 28 6/1
X         Fort Morgan AL M 57 6/6
X         Holden Beach NC M 47 6/8
X         Fort Morgan AL M 69 6/9
X         Pensacola Beach FL M unkn 6/10
      X   Washington Park Beach MI M 28 6/13
X         Daytona Beach FL M 67 6/15
X         Jobos Beach PR M 62 6/19
  X       Michigan City IN F 11 6/19
        X Racine Zoo Beach MI F 9 6/19
        X Duran Eastman Beach NY M 18 6/19
        X Racine North Beach WI M 17 6/19
      X *4   Racine Beach WI F 14 6/19
X         Conimicut Point RI M 35 6/20
X         Conimicut Point RI F 10 6/20
X         Panama City Beach FL F 37 6/22
X         Cannon Beach OR F unkn 6/24
X         Gilchrist Beach TX M 16 6/26
X         Gilchrist Beach TX M 31 6/26
X         Coca Beach FL M 45 6/26
X         Juan Ponce De Leon Landing Beach FL F 23 6/27
X         Juan Ponce De Leon Landing Beach FL M 26 6/27
X         Port Arkansas TX M 19 6/30
X         Port Arkansas TX M 47 6/30
X         Mirmar Beach FL M 55 7/2
X         Assategue MD M unkn 7/4
      X   Gary IN M 20 7/4
        X Panama City Beach FL M 6 7/5
  X       Tiscormia Park MI M 80 7/8
        X Carolina Beach NC M 62 7/12
        X Myrtle Beach (6th Ave S.) SC M 49 7/14
X         Ocean City (19 St) MD M 33 7/16
X         Azul Beach PR M 53 8/2
X         Ocean City (112 St.) MD M 17 8/4
      X   Myrtle Beach (22nd Ave South) SC M 44 8/4
      X   Myrtle Beach (39th Ave North) SC M 34 8/9
X         4 WSW Gulf Shores AL M unkn 8/17
X         4 WSW Gulf Shores AL M unkn 8/17
X         Oak Island NC M 58 8/18
X         Oak Island NC M 28 8/18
X         5 E Fort Morgan AL M 19 8/20
      X *4   North Beach (Racine) IL M 40 8/22
        X Holland State Park MI M unkn 8/22
        X Rodgers Park IL M 30s 8/22
        X Waukegan IL M 16 8/22
      X *4   Tobey Prinz Beach Park IL M 19 8/22
X         Luquillo PR M unkn 8/24
X         North Mrytle Beach SC M unkn 8/27
X         Destin, FL (3500 Scenic Hwy 98) FL M 14 9/1
        X Holland State Park MI M 67 9/4
      X *8   Masonboro Inlet(south end Wrightsville Beach) NC M unkn 9/4
X         Hederson Beach State Park FL M 58 9/4
        X Saugatuck Dunes State Park MI M 30 9/5
X         Annaly Bay St Croix F unkn 9/7
        X North Myrtle Beach SC M 68 9/8
X         Jetty Park (Cape Canaveral) FL M 69 9/8
X         Manati PR M 24 9/11
X         Dam Neck Beach VA M 23 9/11
  X       Panther State Beach CA M 26 9/13
  X       Sogi ASM F unkn 9/13
  X       Panther State Beach CA M 30 9/14
X         1 ESE Sunnyside FL M 9 9/18
X         1 ESE Sunnyside FL M 28 9/18
        X Near Evanston Clark Street Beach IL M 30 9/18
X         Brick Beach 1 NJ M 54 9/18
X         Ortley Beach (8th Ave and Ocean Ave) NJ F 27 9/18
X         Near Daytona Beach Bandshell FL M 58 9/23
X         Daytona Beach (700 block of Atlanta Ave) FL M 10 9/26
X         Escondida PR M 24 9/26
X         Long Point MA M 58 9/27
  X       Cresent City CA M unkn 9/28
X         Golondrinas Beach PR M 51 10/9
X         Aviones Beach PR M 78 10/12
83 15 2 8 15         Total: 123

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
*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.

NWS started tracking these statistics in 2013. We do not have breakdowns before 2013.