The present study focuses on the risk assessment of heavy metal contamination in aquatic ecosystems by evaluating the current situation of heavy metals in seven locations (North Amer El Bahry, Amer, Bakr, Ras Gharib, July Water Floud, Ras Shokeir, and El Marageen) along the Suez Gulf coast that are well-known representative sites for petroleum activities in Egypt. One hundred and forty-six samples of surface sediments were carefully collected from twenty-seven profiles in the intertidal and surf zone. The hydrochemical parameters, such as pH and salinity (S‰), were measured during sample collection. The mineralogy study was carried out by an X-ray diffractometer (XRD), and the concentrations of Al, Mn, Fe, Cr, Cu, Co, Zn, Cd, and Pb were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectra (ICP-MS). The ecological risks of heavy metals were assessed by applying the contamination factor (CF), enrichment factor (EF), geoaccumulation index (Igeo
), pollution load index (PLI), and potential ecological risk index (RI). The mineralogical composition mainly comprised quartz, dolomites, calcite, and feldspars. The average concentrations of the detected heavy metals, in descending order, were Al > Fe > Mn > Cr > Pb > Cu > Zn > Ni > Co > Cd. A non-significant or negative relationship between the heavy metal concentration in the samples and their textural grain size characteristics was observed. The coastal surface sediment samples of the Suez Gulf contained lower concentrations of heavy metals than those published for other regions in the world with petroleum activities, except for Al, Mn, and Cr. The results for the CF, EF, and Igeo
showed that Cd and Pb have severe enrichment in surface sediment and are derived from anthropogenic sources, while Al, Mn, Fe, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, and Zn originate from natural sources. By comparison, the PLI and RI results indicate that the North Amer El Bahry and July Water Floud are considered polluted areas due to their petroleum activities. The continuous monitoring and assessment of pollutants in the Suez Gulf will aid in the protection of the environment and the sustainability of resources.