National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
 

map showing rip current fatalities in 2018. See list below for equivalent information.

Preliminary data on fatalities which occurred in the surf zones across National Weather Service areas of forecast responsibility through March 14, 2019. This data is preliminary and may not be completely accurate. Click on a state with surf zone fatalities in 2018 for a more detailed view.

rip current fatality Rip Currents
high surf fatality High Surf
sneaker wave fatality location Sneaker Waves
other, longshore wave Other
other surf death

Unknown

Rip
Current

High
Surf

Sneaker
Wave

Other

Not
Known

Location

ST

M/F

Age

Date

 

X

   

 

Indian Sands Trail

OR

M

21

1/3

 

X

 

 

 

Near Depoe Bay

OR

M

46

1/18

 

X

 

 

 

Kamaole Beach Park

HI

M

50

1/18

 

X

 

 

 

Kamaole Beach Park

HI

M

67

1/20

 

X

 

 

 

Maluaka Beach

HI

M

71

1/27

X

 

 

 

 

Ritidian Point

GU

M

38

2/13

X

 

 

 

 

Oysterville Beach

WA

F

46

2/2

X

 

 

 

 

Long Beach Peninsula

WA

F

61

2/2

X

 

     

Coral Cove Park

FL

M

13

2/25

X

 

 

 

 

Beacon Beach

CA

M

?

2/22

 

 

 

X

 

Bob Hall Pier

TX

M

20

3/16

X

 

 

 

 

Padre Island

TX

F

14

3/16

X

 

 

 

 

Navarre Beach

FL

M

?

3/24

X

 

 

 

 

Fort Morgan

AL

M

17

3/25

 

X

 

 

 

Shark’s Hole

GU

F

49

4/1

X

 

 

 

 

Jupiter

FL

M

46

4/3

X

 

 

 

 

Frederiksted, St Croix

VI

?

?

4/9

 

X

 

 

 

Kitty Hawk Beach

NC

M

4

4/25

X

 

 

 

 

Daytona Beach

FL

M

32

4/27

 

 

 

X*6

 

College Creek Beach

VA

M

25

5/4

X

 

 

 

 

Cocoa Beach

FL

F

40

5/5

X

 

 

 

 

Saint Augustine Beach

FL

M

18

5/13

X

 

 

 

 

Massengale Park Beach

GA

M

39

5/13

X

 

 

 

 

Massengale Park Beach

GA

F

34

5/13

X

 

 

 

 

Siesta Key

FL

M

59

5/18

 

X

 

 

 

Panama City Beach

FL

M

5

5/19

X

 

 

 

 

Panama City Beach

FL

M

31

5/25

X

 

 

 

 

Miramar Beach

FL

M

28

5/25

X

 

 

 

 

Horace Caldwell Pier

TX

F

52

5/30

X

 

 

 

 

Panama City Beach

FL

M

61

5/31

 

 

 

 

X

Buxton

NC

M

79

6/3

X

 

 

 

 

Frisco Day

NC

M

55

6/6

X

 

 

 

 

St Joseph Peninsula

FL

M

38

6/3

X

 

 

 

 

Ocracoke Island

NC

M

55

6/6

X

 

 

 

 

Rockaway Beach

OR

M

50

6/6

X

 

 

 

 

Rockaway Beach

OR

M

17

6/6

 

X

 

 

 

Pacific Beach

CA

M

26

6/12

X

 

 

 

 

Atlantic Beach

NC

M

48

6/15

X

 

 

 

 

Panama City Beach

FL

M

67

6/16

X

 

 

 

 

Lido Beach

FL

M

?

6/17

 

X

 

 

 

M.B. Miller County Pier

FL

M

21

6/17

X

 

 

 

 

Panama City Beach

FL

M

15

6/19

X

 

 

 

 

Panama City Beach

FL

M

60

6/19

X

 

 

 

 

Long Beach

NY

M

10

6/19

 

 

 

X*6

 

Gilchrist

TX

M

34

6/26

X

 

 

 

 

Avon

NC

M

48

6/28

 

 

 

X*3

 

Pennoyer

WI

M

38

6/30

X

 

 

 

 

Cowell Beach

CA

F

47

7/1

 

 

 

X

 

Surf City Beach

NJ

M

55

7/4

X

 

 

 

 

Arecibo

PR

M

29

7/4

X

 

 

 

 

Magens, St. Thomas

VI

M

40

7/4

 

 

 

X*4

 

Loyola Beach

IL

F

13

7/6

 

X

 

 

 

Kill Devils Hill

NC

M

62

7/7

 

 

 

 

X

Ocean Grove Beach

NJ

M

42

7/9

X

 

 

 

 

Ormond-By-The-Sea

FL

M

61

7/11

 

X

 

 

 

Duck

NC

F

43

7/13

 

X

 

 

 

Southern Shores

NC

M

32

7/19

X

 

 

 

 

Holden Beach

NC

M

20

7/21

 

 

 

X

 

Wrightsville Beach

NC

M

?

7/21

X

 

 

 

 

Sunset Beach

NC

M

~40

7/21

X

 

 

 

 

Condado

PR

M

17

7/22

X         Pere Marquette Park MI M 24 7/23

X

 

 

 

 

Emerald Isle

NC

M

41

7/25

X

 

 

 

 

Okaloosa Island

FL

F

19

8/1

X

 

 

 

 

Dauphin Island

AL

M

17

8/2

X

 

 

 

 

Dauphin Island

AL

M

47

8/2

X

 

 

 

 

Miami Beach

FL

F

35

8/2

 

 

 

 

X

Cocoa Beach

FL

M

37

8/5

X

 

 

 

 

Destin Beach

FL

M

50

8/5

X

 

 

 

 

1.5 E Opal Beach (Escambia County)

FL

M

53

8/5

X

 

 

 

 

Emerald Isle

NC

M

41

8/5

 

X

 

 

 

Grand Heaven State Park

MI

M

64

8/5

 

X

 

 

 

Grand Heaven State Park

MI

M

20

8/5

X         Orange Beach AL M 53 8/5

 

 

 

X

 

Bogue Sound

NC

M

29

8/10

      X*7   Waukegan Harbor IL M 14 8/17

 

 

 

X

 

Indiana Dunes State Park

IN

M

10

8/18

 

 

 

X

 

Indiana Dunes State Park

IN

M

14

8/18

X

 

 

 

 

Seabrook Beach

NH

M

49

8/19

X

 

 

 

 

Seabrook Beach

NH

F

47

8/19

X         Harrington Beach State Park WI M 32 8/20
X         Harrington Beach State Park WI M 34 8/20

 

X

 

 

 

Walnut Beach (Ashtabula OH)

OH

M

16

8/21

X

 

 

 

 

Myrtle Beach

SC

M

41

8/24

 

 

 

X*1

 

Myrtle Beach

SC

M

73

8/25

      X*4   Frankfort MI M 58 8/25

 

 

 

X

 

Kenosha

WI

M

17

9/6

X         New Smyrna Beach FL M 64 9/9

X

 

 

 

 

Playalinda Beach

FL

M

24

9/10

 

X

 

 

 

Seaside Heights

NJ

M

44

9/15

X

 

 

 

 

Rockaway Beach

NY

M

17

9/15

X         Warren Dunes State Park MI M 40 9/22
  X       New Smyrna Beach FL M 43 9/23

 

X

 

 

 

Ballston Beach

MA

M

27

9/29

X

 

 

 

 

Rodanthe

NC

M

63

10/1

 

 

 

X

 

Trunk Bay, St. John

VI

M

67

10/2

X

 

 

 

 

Assateague State Park

MD

M

18

10/7

X

 

 

 

 

Assateague State Park

MD

M

57

10/7

X

 

 

 

 

St Petersburg

FL

F

36

10/13

X

 

 

 

 

Galveston Beach

TX

M

11

10/14

X

 

 

 

 

Galveston Beach

TX

M

16

10/14

 

X

 

 

 

Jamestown

RI

M

?

10/28

 

X

 

 

 

Jamestown

RI

F

?

10/28

 

X

 

 

 

 

Ocean Beach

CA

M

?

12/7

68

20

0

15 2

 

 

 

 

Total: 105

1: longshore current, 2: tidal current, 3: outlet current, 4: structural current, 5: shore break, 6: strong current , 7. channel current
*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.

surf zone fatalities by type: 65% rip currents, 19% High surf, 14% other, 2, unknown surf zone fatalities by gener: 85% male, 15% female
surf zone fatalities by age: 2%, 0-9: 10-29; 33%30-49; 22%, 50-59; 3%, 70+; 8%, unknown; 32%, surf zone fatalities by month: Most deaths are in the summer but fatalities occured in every month.

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

California Surf Zone Fatalities 2017 Florida Surf Zone Fatalities 2017 Oregon Surf Zone Fatalities 2017 Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Surf Zone Fatalities 2017 New Jersey surf deaths in 2017 New York surf deaths in 2017 Alabama surf deaths in 2017 Michigan surf deaths in 2017 Hawaii Surf Deaths Indiana Surf Deaths Wisconsin Surf Deaths North Carolina Indiana Surf Deaths Texas Surf Deaths 2017 Maryland Surf Deaths 2017 Massachusetts Surf Deaths 2017 washington surf deaths in 2017