- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 2, 2023

Florida has an unfortunate monopoly on the nation’s deadliest beaches in America, according to a recent report.

Seven of the top 10 beaches that experience the highest number of surf zone fatalities, shark attacks and hurricanes are in the Sunshine State, according to a report by the news site Travel Lens.

New Smyrna Beach was listed as the nation’s most dangerous due in large part to the 32 shark attacks the beach has witnessed since 2010 — twice as many as any other U.S. beach. 

New Smyrna, 100 miles south of Jacksonville, also had 10 surf zone fatalities in that same time, fourth-most behind Panama City Beach (24 deaths) and Daytona Beach (16) in Florida as well as Myrtle Beach (15) in South Carolina. 

Florida’s Cocoa Beach was named the second deadliest beach for having seven shark attacks and seven surf zone fatalities. Ormond Beach, just north of New Smyrna, stood third most dangerous due to its eight surf zone fatalities and four shark attacks.

Panama City Beach and Myrtle Beach took fourth and fifth, respectively, on the list. The famed South Carolina beach’s high number of surf zone fatalities and nine shark attacks kept its score high.

Three others on Florida’s east coast, Melbourne Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Fort Lauderdale, along with Oak Island in North Carolina and Gulf Shores in Alabama filled out the top 10. 

A major reason Florida dominated the list is because the state is so hurricane-prone. All seven of the state’s beaches listed in Travel Lens’ top 10 experienced a whopping 120 hurricanes from 1851 to 2020. 

For comparison, Myrtle Beach witnessed 31 in that time, while Oak Island saw 58 and Gulf Shores 23.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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