What About Tsunami Debris?

Tsunami debris is not different than any other beach debris.

If you find debris ask yourself if it is hazardous or not.

Hazardous - Call 911

Oil or chemical drums, gas cans, or propane tanks may be hazardous. If you think the debris poses a risk to health and safety, contact authorities right away.

Not Hazardous

Post your observations at DisasterDebris@noaa.gov or call the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center 1-800-424-8802.

Has tsunami debris been found in California?

Two small boats were found on Northern California beaches two and three years after the Japan tsunami. The registration numbers confirmed that they had been lost in the tsunami. Other debris such as fishing floats and containers with Japanese characters may have been from the tsunami but could also be ordinary trash.

What does tsunami debris look like?

Tsunami debris is widely dispersed and mixed in with the typical trash that washes up on the beaches all of the time. It includes floating material such as wood, plastics and containers.

Can tsunami debris be radioactive?

Tsunami debris is no more likely to be radioactive than debris from any other source.

  • Radionuclides are water soluble and quickly dissolve in sea water
  • None of the tsunami debris found after the Japan tsunami was radioactive