How To Avoid Sharks And How To Protect Yourself Against One When Swimming In The Sea
To prevent getting attacked by a shark, avoid entering the water at dawn or dusk, be careful not to splash erratically, and avoid wearing shiny jewelry.
The ominous theme music from the 1975 film “Jaws” has been ingrained in our collective psyche, creating an underlying fear of sharks for generations. Although shark encounters are rare, they do happen, and understanding shark behavior and safety precautions can help keep you safe during your ocean adventures.
CNN Travel reported that in 2021, the world saw the United States leading in unprovoked shark attacks with 47, while Florida alone recorded the highest state total of 28. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the global population is approaching 8 billion, and a significant number of people live near or visit coastal areas. Additionally, the actual number of recorded shark bites was just 112, and the risk of drowning is considerably higher.
Even with the chances being incredibly low of becoming Jaw’s next meal, it’s still a good idea to know how to protect yourself against one when swimming in the sea.
Understanding Shark Behavior
Sharks are curious creatures with keen sensory perception, and some species, like the great white, tiger, and bull sharks, are known to be more aggressive than others. According to the International Shark Attack File, even though there is a slight chance of getting bit by a shark, it is still crucial to be aware of these actions and understand how to avoid them.
Minimizing the Risk of Shark Encounters
To minimize the risk of shark encounters, consider the following tips: First, choose the right time and place for swimming. When sharks are more active, avoid entering the water at dawn, dusk, or night. Additionally, stay away from areas with high shark activity, such as New Smyrna Beach in Florida, known as the “shark capital of the world.”
Richard Peirce, a renowned shark expert and former chair of the UK-based Shark Trust and Shark Conservation Society, also advised in an interview with CNN that if one wishes to avoid the potential risk of encountering a shark, it would be best to stay away from estuaries.
These areas, according to Peirce, tend to attract bull sharks, a species notorious for its involvement in human attacks, along with great whites and tiger sharks. Moreover, river mouths are another location where shark attacks tend to occur frequently.
Appearance and Behavior in the Water
Be cautious with your appearance and behavior in the water. Shiny jewelry or bright clothing may attract a curious shark, while excessive splashing or erratic swimming can also pique their interest. Pay attention to local warnings and conditions. Heed shark warnings and beach closures, and be aware of nearby fishing activities or schools of fish.
Protecting Yourself During a Shark Encounter
In the unlikely event of a shark encounter, knowing how to protect yourself is crucial. Stay calm and maintain a vertical position, avoiding sudden movements or panic. Keep the shark in sight; if it appears aggressive, be prepared to defend yourself. Use any available object, like a snorkel or camera, as a weapon, aiming for the shark’s eyes, gills, or snout.
Responding to a Shark Bite
Knowing how to respond in the case of a shark bite is equally essential. Exit the water as quickly and calmly as possible and apply pressure to the wound to control bleeding. Seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services or flagging down help.
Time is of the essence in such situations, and as the International Shark Attack File reminds us, “Knowing how to respond to a shark bite can help improve the chances of survival and minimize damage.”
Enjoying the Ocean Responsibly
Although movies like “Jaws” have heightened public fear of sharks, it’s important to keep in mind that shark attacks are uncommon. Educating ourselves and taking the necessary precautions allows us to enjoy ocean activities responsibly and confidently. So, grab your sunscreen, hit the beach, and enjoy the water, knowing you are well-prepared for a safe and enjoyable ocean experience.