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Preliminary data on fatalities which occurred in the surf zones across National Weather Service areas of forecast responsibility through July 29, 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 Unknown

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       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         Surfside Beach TX M 22 5/2
X         Myrtle Beach SC M 16 5/10
X         Galveston Beach TX M 8 5/12
  X       Cowell Ranch State Seashore CA M 12 5/18
X         Rio Grande PR M unkn 5/12
X         Cape Canaveral FL M 50 5/19
X         Ocean City (5th St) MD M mid 20s 5/23
X         Huguenot State Park FL M 31 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 IN M 28 6/13
X         Daytona Beach FL M 67 6/15
X         Jobos Beach PR M 62 6/19
        X Racine Zoo Beach MI F 9 6/19
        X Racine North Beach WI M 17 6/19
        X Racine Beach WI F 14 6/19
        X Narragansett RI M 35 6/20
        X Narragansett 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
52 8 0 1 10         Total: 71

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.