Shark Safety

According to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, the chances of having an interaction with a shark can be reduced if one heeds the following advice:

1. Always stay in groups since sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.

2. Do not wander too far from shore --- this isolates an individual and additionally places one far away from assistance.

3. Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight hours when sharks are most active and have a competitive sensory advantage.

4. Do not enter the water if bleeding from an open wound or if menstruating --- a shark's olfactory ability is acute.

5. Wearing shiny jewelry is discouraged because the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales.

6. Avoid waters with known effluents or sewage and those being used by sport or commercial fisherman, especially if there are signs of bait fish or feeding activity. Diving seabirds are good indicators of such action.

7. Sightings of porpoises do not indicate the absence of sharks --- both often eat the same food items.

8. Use extra caution when waters are murky and avoid uneven tanning and bright colored clothing --- sharks see contrast particularly well.

9. Refrain from excess splashing and do not allow pets in the water because of their erratic movements.

10. Exercise caution when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep drop-offs --- these are favorite hangouts for sharks.

11. Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present and evacuate the water if sharks are seen while there. And, of course, do not harass a shark if you see one.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Todd Location: Holden Beach, NC on Aug 6, 2008 at 06:42 AM
    Compare the number of shark attacks to the number of drunk driving accidents...or any motor vehicle accidents. Compare the number of shark attacks to the number of people struck by lightning. I think the real issue is one of perspective. The person who said "sharks are scary" is right on the money, that's why we hear about them all the time. It is much more comforting to think about how scary sharks are than to worry about all of the much more likely disasters we risk just by getting out of bed in the morning. Every time I get in an airplane I'm terrified of it crashing. I realize that it is very unlikely, but the nature of fear is that it is irrational. Another thing to consider, what would a shark think if it could walk into a tourist shop and see all the sharks in bottles and the bins of shark jaws for sale. Sharks really have far more to fear from us than we do from them.
  • by Jim Location: Washington on Jul 10, 2008 at 09:42 PM
    The #1 way not to be bitten by a shark is to NOT swim in their dinner plate (the ocean).
  • by Missy Location: Fountain on Jul 10, 2008 at 01:57 PM
    We have to remember that the ocean is the shark's environement and it truely is swim at our own risk.
  • by Citizen Location: eastern nc on Jul 10, 2008 at 01:27 PM
    I loved the beach as a child and loved playing in the water, but after becoming a teen I did not really care for it anymore. Now that I have children of my own I always thought that they would love the beach like I did when I was a child, but I was wrong and after hearing all of the stories about shark attacks I am glad. You can carry my kids to the beach all day long, but they will not get in the water and I guess that is the safest thing that you can do in order to prevent getting attacked by a shark. I would just like to know why you here more about shark attacks today than you did 20 years ago? Maybe WITN can find out the answer to that and do a story on it.
  • by Dee Location: Goldsboro on Jul 10, 2008 at 12:45 PM
    It is very scary when shark attacks happen. But, we MUST remember that we are in the sharks environment, and we must respect that. You don't see sharks walking on the beach do you? If you are attacked, if at all possible, punched the shark in his gills. This cuts off his air suply and will cause him to let go.
  • by Tim Location: Kinston on Jul 10, 2008 at 10:42 AM
    How about following up this story with ways to protect yourself if you are in the midst of getting attacked. Like punching the shark in the nose.
  • by britt Location: ecu on Jul 10, 2008 at 10:07 AM
    Sharks are scary! But I love to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel!!!!
  • by Tim Location: La Grange on Jul 10, 2008 at 10:05 AM
    "You're gonna need a bigger boat."
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