National Weather Service
National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

rip current navigation bar-top Rip Current Safety Rip Current Surf and Rip Forecasts Rip Currents: Before You Go to the Beach Rip Currents: At the Beach Rip Current science

U.S. Surf Zone Fatalities 2018: 4

Preliminary data on fatalities which occurred in the surf zones across National Weather Service areas of forecast responsibility through January 21, 2018. This data is preliminary and may not be completely accurate. Click on a state with surf zone fatalities in 2017 for a more detailed view.

map showing rip current fatalities in 2017. See list below for equivalent information.

Stormready Commercial site Rip Currents
storemready community High Surf
sneaker wave fatality location Sneaker Waves
other, longshore wave Other
government/military community Unknown











  X       Near Depoe Bay OR M 46 1/18
  X       Kamaole Beach Park HI M 50 1/18
  X       Kamaole Beach Park HI


67 1/20
  X       Maluaka Beach



71 1/27
0 4 0 0 0         Total: 4

1longshore current, 2tidal current, 3outlet current, 4structural current, 5Shore Break, *American Samoa, ? : unknown

weather-ready nation link

Rip Current Navigation bar, hover for links Beach hazards such as dangerous waves, algae blooms, debris, lightning, sun burn and more Frequently Asked Questions rip current education Photos of rip currents Stories from Rip current survivors beach signs, brochures, flyers, photos, stickers, video and more Rip current science links, glossary,S partner agencies, local resources Kids games and activities; Teen multimedia and online class resources surf zone fatalities by gender, age, month, state and type

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.

California Surf Zone Fatalities 2016 Florida Surf Zone Fatalities 2016 Oregon Surf Zone Fatalities 2016 Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Surf Zone Fatalities 2016 New Jersey surf deaths in 2016 New York surf deaths in 2016 Alabama surf deaths in 2016 Michigan surf deaths in 2016 Hawaii Surf Deaths Indiana Surf Deaths Wisconsin Surf Deaths North Carolina Indiana Surf Deaths Texas Surf Deaths 2016 Maryland Surf Deaths 2016 Massachusetts Surf Deaths 2016