When millions of people hit the beach every year, the chance of a shark attack will always be possible. But you can reduce your chances of injury or death if you know the risk of Shark activity and what to do if it happens to you. How to prevent Shark Attacks?
- Swim with Groups of people
- Never Swim at Dusk & Dawn
- Avoid murky water
- Don’t swim in Estuaries or near Sewage Outfalls
- Avoid Fishing boats & Fish Feedings
- Don’t Bleed or Pee in the ocean water
- Don’t wear high-contrast clothing
- Stay away from baitfish
- If you meet a shark-Slowly back away-don’t turn your back
What human beings have to understand is that when a swimmer enters the ocean, especially in an unknown and unprotected area, that person could be entering the home of fish that including the Shark. Knowing how to prevent an encounter with him, what you can do to survive, if you can’t, might even the score on his home turf.
Where Do Most Shark Attacks Happen
Shark attacks are not as common as most people think and in the United States only account for about 33 per year. The amount of fatalities is around 1-3 per year in the US according to some reports. In comparison lightning, strikes kill around 37 (records are from 2015) people a year.
These are figures from 3 years ago and a number more Shark attacks are being reported especially with Reef and Great White Sharks, where seal populations are being protected. Records still show that most people are attacked in shallow water.
The last attack in shallow water in 2015 in North Carolina on Oak Island where two boys lost limbs was in shallow water about 20 yards off-shore. Both the boys were attacked within 90 minutes of each other.
According to the:
Shark Attack Information for the whole world is kept here in the US at the International Shark File in Florida. The USA leads the way in Shark Attacks with 33 unprovoked and 3 fatalities(2020) records
Usually, Shark attacks are separated into 3 categories;
- Attacks on Divers
- Attacks on Surfers
- Attacks on Swimmers
Swimmers are listed on the attacks that happen closer to shore. Most attacks on Divers happen in 31 feet to 40 feet of water. According to records in the Museum of Natural History in Florida. Attacks on Surfers and Swimmers that are the most common are in 6-10 feet of water.
The second and third most common depths for these kinds of attacks are 11 to 20 feet and zero to 5 feet, respectively which would put you in the surf at the beach.
Most Shark attacks happen close to the beach in shallow water near a sandbar or near a deep water drop-off. Sharks feed at Dawn and near Dusk. There is a correlation between the 911 calls of people reporting the attacks and the feeding time of the Sharks.
What Attracts Sharks to Humans
There are a number of things you can do to prevent having an encounter with a Shark.
Avoid Estuaries, Murky waters, or Mouths of rivers after heavy rains-particularly where there are bull sharks which, along with great whites and tiger sharks, are the most likely to attack humans. A lot of attacks occur in river mouths, where there is silt, cloudiness, and other materials in suspension in the river people washing their clothes, people washing.
Avoid fishing boats-Before you jump in the sea, have a look around the horizon what do you see? If you see fishing boats don’t go in. If fishermen are catching fish or struggling with fish in the water, that’s one of the prime attractors for a shark.
So when you’ve hooked a fish before you’ve landed it on the boat, the whole time it’s struggling in the water it’s likely to be emitting fluids, leaking blood and acids. All the signals that would attract a shark. It doesn’t matter the size of the fishing operation either. Whether they’re commercial or recreational fishermen, they’re often discarding material over the side fish they don’t want, fish parts, gutting fish. They’re effectively putting chum in the water for fish along with bringing around sharks.
Mistaken identity-Swimming early in the morning or late at night can be lovely, but it’s also the time when a shark attack is most likely. A lot of shark attacks are cases of mistaken identity, due to reduced visibility and identification ability on the behalf of the shark.
Don’t bleed or pee in the water
Sharks have an extraordinary sense of smell and can detect a drop of blood in several hundred million parts of water, according to researchers.
Blood indicates the presence of something to eat and may attract sharks, says Peirce, but what’s often not realized is that urine has the exact same effect. And if you’re sitting on a surfboard in the water all day, you’re peeing all day through your wetsuit.
Women who are menstruating should stay on the beach and people who cut themselves while swimming should get out of the water.
During Feeding Frenzies– or when baitfish are present in the water. It’s not hard to see swirls of baitfish being hit by bigger predatory fish. It’s a violent sight with small fish jumping out of the water while being eaten. I don’t care if the predatory fish are Bluefish or Sharks, you shouldn’t be in the water.
Swimmers are typically less observant but can be educated. When you’re standing on the beach looking into the water and see a lot of fish breaking the surface as well as birds diving into the water, that is a sign that maybe you shouldn’t be going out at all. You could spot a dead animal or fish just stay away.
Something is feeding there and more than likely there is a shark or two in the mix. In the ocean which is the jungle, the bigger fish eat the little fish. That’s how it goes folks. To put yourself in that situation is reckless and dangerous.
Do not wear high contrast clothing– orange and red are said to be colors at risk. Shiny jewelry can be seen by Sharks very well and look like smaller fish scales. Sharks don’t see very well especially in murky water, so wearing shiny bracelets, necklaces or any kind of jewelry will attract them.
What to Do If a Shark Attacks You
If you are carrying fish from spearfishing or Snorkeling then drop the fish and let the Shark have them. If you can stay as calm as possible and leave the area. Stand your ground. Be dominant. If the Sharks start to circle you and come in close to you, punch him in the nose. This will shock the Shark and possibly give you enough time, while he’s confused to leave the water as fast and calmly as possible.
According to Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab, at California State University, Long Beach, the type of shark should also decide your fighting stance. For example, a bite from a Great White may give you more time to escape because any blow to their large frame is going to be disorienting. However, the reef shark, common in Florida, is known to do a “bite and run” maneuver, meaning that, after the first bite, they are likely to leave you alone.
On the other hand, a tiger shark, which is identifiable by the stripes on its sides, will often latch on to its prey, so if you’re bitten by one, you’ll have to wait until it releases itself. Don’t punch or hit this shark, says Lowe.
According to National Geographics If a Shark attack is imminent you need to defend yourself. Without using your bare hands you need to find a weapon and defend yourself. If you can concentrate any and all blows against the Sharks eyes and gill area. A Shark’s snout is said to be delicate and an area that if you got to fight you want to center on. You can’t play dead it doesn’t work. If the Shark gets your body into his mouth, you need to concentrate and claw at his eyes and use the sensitivity of his gills to escape. If you do get bitten you need to leave the water calmly as you can, so that other Sharks don’t join in on the attack on you.
- The worst thing that you can do is panic.
- Don’t splash and kick the water around. That will just entice the Shark into more interest.
- If you are a Diver use a camera or if you are a Snorkeler use your snorkel to poke the Shark in the eyes.
- Try and keep your back on something so you can’t be attacked from behind. Keep your eyes on the Shark’s eyes.
- Slowly back your way away from the Shark but never turn your back on him.
- Again keep fighting look bigger than you are and try to be dominant. If the Shark is massive like a Great White you might want to curl up so he knows you are not a competitor.
If the Shark is normal Reef Shark size then make yourself bigger and into a competitor where the smaller or normal size Shark might leave you alone.