Japan Data

Maritime Leisure Accidents in Japan


People flock to the beaches in Japan during the midsummer season, but every year there are around 900 maritime accidents, causing 200 to 300 fatalities.

In 2018 the Japan Coast Guard recorded a total of 858 accidents resulting from maritime leisure activities such as swimming, fishing, or surfing. Among them, 242 led to fatalities or missing persons, including 94 dead or missing swimmers.

Incidents involving swimmers, which tend to be concentrated in midsummer, were the most frequent type of maritime leisure accident, followed by fishing, surfing, and tide pool activities. A total of 60% of swimming incidents resulted in drowning, while in 31% of cases, swimmers were swept out to sea.

In an average year, around 34% of swimming incidents involve minors under 20 years of age. Moreover, 55% of the accidents occur outside of areas where swimming is authorized.

In order to prevent such incidents, the Japan Coast Guard is drawing attention to the dangers of swimming in a rip current or after drinking alcohol. A rip current is a localized water current that flows from the shore out to the ocean. A person who gets swept up in a rip current, which mainly occur in areas of the shoreline where swimming is prohibited, can be quickly swept out to sea.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: A surf patrol monitoring the Southern Beach of the city of Chigasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture. © masy/Pixta.)

leisure safety