This Beautiful Florida Beach Is Considered One Of The Most Dangerous In America

Any time you get in the water, you are guaranteed to encounter a certain degree of danger. Maybe the risk is small, like getting poked by a sea urchin or scraping your legs on a coral reef, but sometimes the peril is serious and life-threatening, like powerful undertows or even harmful sea creatures like sharks roaming the surf. However some waters are more dangerous than others, and when a beach is given the moniker of one of the "deadliest" beaches in the United States, it should definitely make you think twice before diving into the water while it's warm.

In 2023, the travel blog TravelLens made a list of the 10 deadliest beaches in the nation and found that Ormond Beach in Florida clocked in at number 3, with a danger score of 7.48 out of 10 (indicating that the higher the score, the deadlier the surf). On top of being affected by a whopping 120 hurricanes since records began in 1851, the website also pointed out that the beach has seen four shark attacks and eight "surf zone" fatalities. What does that mean for your upcoming Florida beach vacation? How can Ormond beachgoers stay safe? And can this title be trusted, or is really arbitrary? Let's take a closer look at Ormond Beach.

The tides and the sharks are a concern

It would seem that the reports of dangerous waters off the coast of Ormond Beach, Florida aren't greatly exaggerated. In 2023, a 76-year-old swimmer's lifeless body was pulled from the surf, per News Daytona Beach. In 2022, a 69-year-old man drowned in its waters due to strong rip tides, according to WESH 2. Most disturbingly, in 2020 a 7-year-old drowned in Ormond Beach waters due to strong rip tides, as reported by Spectrum News 13.  

It's not just a strong current that can threaten your life if you and your family are enjoying Ormond Beach's surf. There are sharks as well, and they have attacked humans previously. In 1981, a woman died during a shark attack after the catamaran she was traveling on capsized off the coast of the beach, per UPI. Three others survived the attack with injuries. More recently, a Canadian surfer was attacked by a shark in 2017 when she jumped into the water off her surfboard, according to Global News. Emergency services and experts have long warned visitors to exercise caution, especially if they haven't brushed up on their breaststroke. "If you are an experienced surfer, go out there and enjoy it, but if you are not, be very cautious when you are entering the water," Deputy Chief Tamara Malphurs of Volusia County Beach Safety told WESH. Volusia beach safety officials have also advised that lifeguards aren't stationed at every point along the beach, so swimmers should avoid the water if a lifeguard can't be found in their area, per My News 13.

Some locals think it's misleading to call Ormond Beach deadly

There is a debate about whether or not Ormond Beach truly deserves to be listed in the top 10 deadliest beaches in the country, and some locals have pushed back after the TravelLens list was released. The Daytona Beach News-Journal spoke with Ormond Beach regulars who said that there was no basis for such an extreme claim. One resident, Betty Dunkel, revealed that her husband was a lifeguard on the beach, and stated, "Most of the drownings that he experienced, people he saved, were people who came to the beach who were not familiar with the dangers of the water." She added their emergencies were due to "carelessness" and "lack of ability," rather than the inherent dangers of the beach. The outlet also spoke with the local tourism board and other tourism and safety officials, who said that shark sightings haven't deterred people from wading in the surf and said that the label was inaccurate.

If you're still unsure of Ormond Beach, luckily there's an app for that! The Volusia County Beaches App allows visitors to get updates in real time about the locations of all the lifeguard stations on the beach, weather conditions, and even the state of the tides, so you know when it's safe to swim and when it's best to stay on dry land.