Dead Island Wiki
Dead Island Wiki

Drowners are a zombie introduced in Dead Island: Riptide. They can be seen as a water infected.


Drowners are first encountered off of a dock at the beach, when Chimamanda tells the Heroes to look for wreckage and appear in the Flooded jungle of Palanai and flooded parts of Henderson afterwards. They appear to be corpses in water, but will attack the player when approached. They're mixed with Infected and Walker due to the speed of an Infected and attacks plus strength of a Walker. Drowners also present a major danger to characters travelling via boat, as they're able to lunge and knock players off of boats. It becomes even worse if you land in the water as you cannot run in deep water while they can run as fast as an Infected in water, and they can catch up to your boat unless you speed boost. They return later in Henderson but due to no boats in Henderson they can be alerted by the Heroes due to the low deep of the Water.

There are actual, dead bodies floating in the swamps as well as the Drowners, but it's fairly easy to differentiate between them--the cursor will lock on a Drowner and shift between body-parts as you move it, but it will remain fixed to the center of the screen when scanning corpses that weren't once living zombies.


Drowner in Henderson

They wear pants and no shirt, in similar clothing style to Butchers. (This is probably because there is a concept art picture of a Butcher In a similar style to the Drowner). Their torso is covered in various plants like algae and seaweed, due to them being in water much of the time. They appear to be some of the more intact zombies, although they are not untouched, with visible damage to their arms and possibly torsos. Though they spend most of their time in water, much like Floaters, they are not bloated or swollen with water.


Drowner attacking the Hero

Drowners will appear as just inert corpses floating in the jungle waterways until you either get too close or they hear the boat at which point they will jump up and sprint through the water at the player. The very definition of an ambush predator, they rely on surprise and speed to catch their prey off-guard. They camouflage themselves amongst the already floating corpses in a hope of blending in, so you don't know they're there until it's too late. They are most similar to the infected, having a far higher speed than the player and also making a similar screech, but unlike the infected, they do not scream before running at you, rather lie in wait to surprise you. Their main attack is a grab and tackle off the boat, if applicable, otherwise they will sprint though the water and attack you like any other infected or zombie. In some ways, they are even more dangerous than the Infected, as while water greatly slows down the player, the Drowners seem unaffected by it, giving you even less chance of getting away from them. However, they change their running speed at a specific distance, usually running at their target from a distance, but slowly walking as they get close. The reason for this is unknown.


There are various methods of dealing with Drowners, though some are more dangerous than others.

  • One method is to travel on foot through the waterways. This is the safest, albeit slowest, method of moving around, but it means you can deal with the Drowners in your own time. Because they only really react to the boat engine, you can easily check every single corpse you come across to see if they are a Drowner. The easiest method is to kick them as they float there. A corpse will just fall to the bottom of the river, while the Drowner will come alive as it falls to the bottom, allowing you time to target them and deal with them either by hitting them in the head with a weapon or stomping on their head if the skill is unlocked. This also removes the risk of there being multiple swarming you.
  • A second method is to travel by boat and speed boost when a Drowner come running. This is the riskiest option, as if you miss your charge, there is a chance that the Drowner will grab onto the side of the boat and haul you off if you miss the quick time event to kick it off. If you manage to hit the Drowner with the speed boost, it will knock it down and possibly kill it from the impact. If one latches onto the side of the boat, the only other option to clear it off is to crash the side of the boat into a wall and hope the Drowner is scraped off, causing it to be removed and possibly die from the impact.
  • The third option is to use throwables, firearms and explosives to literally blast your way through the waterways. If you find a Drowner, or even better, a nest of them, you can pull back, lob a grenade or similar explosive and blow up the whole lot of them. While fun, it's hardly the most effective and is likely to result in any nearby Infected, Walkers or other Drowners being alerted to your presence.
  • Sonic Pulse Grenades are really effective against Drowners especially for the ones in Henderson.


  • Due to there not being any boats in Henderson and the Water isn't as deep as the Jungle they can easily hear things moving or any sound.
  • Dead Drowner bodys can be found at the entrance of Santa Maria Mission if the Heroes complete the Tunnel mission and come back they will disappear. (Except the ones far in the Water)
  • Drowners are the only Walker/Infected that cant be knocked over easily as they are able to resist falling on their back to being knocked off balance with a simple kick. They can be pushed into a wall which will knock them down.
  • They're attacks cant be interrupted (only when executed) by melee, even kicks. They can still grapple even by being hit. Firearms are guaranteed to interrupt their attack.


  • There are hidden Drowners that will only appear if you enter/ride a boat.
  • They're the only Zombies that don't appear in siege events.
  • Strangely, despite being a Water Infected and living in the water a Drowner can drown. If you knock one down and keep it on the floor below the water, it will eventually take drowning damage. This is strange as the zombie is often face down in the water while waiting for a victim.
  • Drowner is one of the few zombies to not have a unique Boss Zombie in Dead Island: Riptide. Others being: Rams, Floaters, Screamers, and Suiciders.
  • Despite the Drowner being a special variant of the Infected, It is an enemy to not make any other appearance after Dead Island: Riptide.
  • The Runner from Dead Island: Epidemic is similar to the Drowner, and by extension, the Infected.