Florida dominates list of deadliest US beaches

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Florida showed deadly dominance in a recently compiled list of the most dangerous beaches in the U.S.

Referencing Shark Research Institute, Inc., along with hurricane and surf zone fatality data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the bloggers at Travel Lens revealed late last month that Florida accounts for seven of the nation’s top 10 “deadliest” beaches.

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There are many reasons why any given beach could be deadly, but Travel Lens narrowed them down to three: The number of surf zone fatalities since 2010, the number of shark attacks since 2010 and the number of hurricane landfalls between 1851-2020.

According to Traven Lens’ methodology statement, a weighted table was used to convert the data and provide a normalized score out of 10 for each beach:

Location, State Surf zone fatalities Shark attacks Hurricane landfalls Danger score /10
New Smyrna Beach, Florida 10 32 120 8.14
Cocoa Beach, Florida 7 7 120 7.57
Ormond Beach, Florida 8 4 120 7.48
Panama City Beach, Florida 24 2 120 7.16
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 15 9 31 6.61
Melbourne Beach, Florida 3 6 120 6.35
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 3 3 120 6.02
Oak Island, North Carolina 8 2 58 5.54
Gulf Shores, Alabama 5 3 23 5.38
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 3 2 120 5.37

The study highlighted other aspects supported by this data; Panama City Beach, for example, was found to be the most quantifiably deadly beach for surfing in the U.S., with Travel Lens noting the best surfing conditions there often show up during hurricane season.

Travel Lens suggested the following beach safety tips to follow for your next visit:

  • Always swim near a lifeguard

  • Don’t swim alone

  • Keep your fitness and swimming capabilities in mind

  • Check water conditions, such as rip current risk, as well as for weather warnings

Read more on Travel Lens.

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