Reducing the Odds of a Shark Attack
It is extremely unlikely for a person to be bitten or attacked by a shark in Florida waters, and attacks are rarely life threatening. However, if you are thinking of going swimming on an ocean beach, and if you are concerned about sharks, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your chances of being bitten:
- Always stay in groups since sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
- Do not wander too far from shore-this isolates an individual and places him or her far away from assistance.
- Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight hours when sharks are most active and have a competitive sensory advantage.
- Do not enter the water if bleeding from an open wound or if menstruating-a shark's ability to smell blood is acute.
- Wearing shiny jewelry is discouraged. When light reflects off shiny jewelry, it resembles the sheen of fish scales.
- Avoid waters with known discharges or sewage and waters used for any type of fishing-especially if there are signs of baitfishes or feeding activity. Diving seabirds, which frequently feed on baitfishes, are good indicators of such activity.
- While there are myths and anecdotes about dolphins saving humans from shark attacks, sighting dolphins does not indicate the absence of sharks-both often eat the same foods.
- Use extra caution when waters are murky.
- Remember that sharks see contrast particularly well. Uneven tans and bright colored clothing may draw a shark's attention.
- Refrain from excess splashing, as this may draw a shark's attention.
- Do not allow pets in the water: their erratic movements can cause sharks to mistake them for baitfish.
- Be careful when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep drop-offs-these are favorite hangouts for sharks.
- Swim only in areas tended by lifeguards.
- Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present, and get out of the water if sharks are sighted.
- Never harass a shark!
Source: International Shark Attack File