In the last couple of days, there’s been an odd recurrence of shark attacks while folks enjoy a relaxing time on the beach. And Florida, being the number one state with the most shark attacks in the United States, recorded more incidences.
A shark off the coast of Daytona Beach bit a 33-year-old man on the foot and he’s still in recovery at the moment. The Florida man, Bryan Olivares, was in the waters with his dad when the incident occurred. And although he was only at a waist-deep level in the water, he was not safe away from the jaws of a wandering shark.
“It was scary because I didn’t know what happened. I felt like I stepped on a knife. My goal was to get out of the beach,” Mr. Olivares said.
However, as Mr. Olivares’ left foot heals in the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery, so does 13-year-old Fischer Hricko’s face heals in his home in Florida after being attacked by a shark on Wednesday last week. Bryan and Fischer are two of three shark attack cases that occurred in Florida in less than a week.
There was another shark attack off the coast of Jacksonville Beach on Saturday. The man was however rescued by a 16-year-old teenager. Despite what might seem like a hike in shark attacks, experts claim that the “hype” is normal every summer.
“Every summer, stories about shark attacks tend to get amplified, which can generate the false idea that things are different this year,” said Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History. There’s still a 1 in 4 million chance of the average person getting bitten by a shark.
Looking at the stats, shark attacks are incredibly rare, but the horror stories from survivors can make it seem like a terrifying trend. And even for a state like Florida with one of the highest shark attack incidences yearly, there were just 28 attacks last year, which represents 60% of the total shark attacks in the United States in 2021.
What are the Chances of Getting Attacked by a Shark?
Every year, there are around 80 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide, with roughly 10-15 of those happening in the United States. And of the 137 shark incidents with humans worldwide last year, ISAF confirmed 39 to be provoked bites.
The chances of getting attacked by a shark are actually pretty slim. In fact, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, and it’s important to be aware of the risks.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection advises that if you see a large fish or any other marine animal near the shoreline or swimming in an unusual manner in shallow water then get out of the water as quickly as possible because they may be a warning sign of nearby sharks.
Why Do Sharks Attack Humans?
In shallower waters where most humans swim, sharks often mistake us for their normal prey items such as seals, sea lions, and turtles. When this happens, it’s called a hit-and-run attack. The shark will take one bite then quickly swim away before realizing its mistake. In deeper waters where large predators hunt, sharks may see us as competition and become aggressive.
These attacks are more likely to be fatal because the shark is intending to do us harm. You can reduce your risk of being attacked by avoiding areas where sharks are known to frequent and by not swimming alone.
Be sure to stay close to shore or other swimmers when you’re in the water and don’t wear shiny jewelry while surfing or swimming. If you ever spot a shark while in the water, never provoke it or go near it. Remember, getting out of the water as soon as possible is the goal, especially if you have an injury that could attract sharks like blood or oil on skin.
How to Handle a Shark Attack – What Do the Experts Say?
Paul de Gelder, a participant in 2019 Shark week shares tips on how best to handle a shark attack. He was attacked in 2009 by a bull shark, which ended with him losing parts of his right arm and leg.
Remain calm when near a shark
Instinct will tell you to flee right away if you’re in the water and a shark shows up out of nowhere. Defy the desire. When you see an apex predator, you want to flee as quickly as you can, according to de Gelder.
You’re then much more likely to get bitten, though. A shark will become predatory if you start to panic. Remember: You are not immediately on the menu just because a shark is around. “Nine out of ten persons who participate in swims with sharks will state, ‘I didn’t feel endangered. I had no sense that the shark intended to bite me. Just wondering, that is. Cling to that. It’ll help you stay calm.”
Keep the shark in your line of sight
Sharks respect assertiveness just like dogs do. Confronting a shark is the best course of action, according to de Gelder. “Not in a hostile manner. Be composed. Maintain your focus on it. Prove to them that you, too, are a predator.”
You can shoo a shark away if it comes your way. If you let the shark know you’re not docile, you might be able to avoid starting a fight you’re sure to lose.
Resist the shark’s assault
In the unfortunate event that a shark decides you could be food, you won’t have much of a voice in the situation. Even a test bite, in which the shark gives you a curious nip, might result in severe harm. Furthermore, if it’s a full-bore assault, you’re in big trouble. De Gelder describes his own incident by saying, “I felt pressure when the shark grabbed me.” “However, I didn’t feel the teeth inserted. Up until it started shaking and tearing me apart, I didn’t feel any pain.
Even so, taking action is preferable to doing nothing. Go “crazy,” hitting and fighting the shark in whatever way you can, says De Gelder. Good targets include the gills, nose, and eyes. He declares, “Anything that shows the shark you won’t take it.” “Perhaps you’ll escape,” Even better is keeping a weapon nearby. Use a knife and aim for the shark’s gills or underside; avoid trying to stab the top. He claims, “You won’t be able to penetrate it.
Hold your injured arm over your head if it is bleeding
Swim as quickly as you can to the shore or safety if a shark happens to lose interest. Keep your arm lifted above your heart if you have a wound on it. According to de Gelder, keeping a bleeding arm above your heart will stop the bleeding. De Gelder had the foresight to lift his arm after the shark that attacked him took his hand, which may have helped him survive.
Avoid looking at the wound at all costs
Sharks are way stronger than humans, and the injuries they cause can be fatal. De Gelder took care to avoid looking at his severely broken leg. He explains, “I believed that if I didn’t look at the wound, I wouldn’t fall into shock.” “It’s similar to when a young child cuts his finger. He waits till he sees blood before sobbing. I was aware that my leg was not right, but I wasn’t sure what it was. It might be awful, I knew. I didn’t concentrate on it.
What are the Top 5 Places with the Highest Shark Attacks?
Hawaii – The coasts of these two islands have seen two-thirds of Hawaii’s 159 shark attacks since 1828, with 64 attacks taking place in Maui and 42 attacks taking place in Oahu. With 28 shark attacks occurring off Kauai and 19 off the major island of Hawaii, other islands are also not entirely safe.
Even if this number is quite modest when you take into account the millions of visitors Hawaii receives each year, you should still be on alert for the about 40 species of shark that reside there. The deadly tiger shark, which follows the great white in terms of the number of attacks on humans, is one of these species.
166 species of shark may be found in Australia. Anywhere along the seashore, you might run into one of them, but due to its high population density, this country’s eastern coast is especially vulnerable to attacks. Queensland and New South Wales, two sizable states, make up the eastern coast of Australia.
These two states compete with one another for having Australia’s most hazardous coastline. For instance, out of 134 fatalities in Australia between 1917 and 2017, 52 shark attack fatalities occurred in Queensland. Fortunately, there were no attacks or fatalities in Queensland in 2021.
New South Wales, Australia
Along Australia’s eastern coast, New South Wales, like its northern neighbor Queensland, is home to some stunning beaches and a sizable population of sharks. Since 1700, there have been 267 attacks in New South Wales. There have been 47 fatalities, which includes five attacks and one death in 2021.
This bright location’s high placement on our list is due in part to some recent attacks. In 2015, a surfer lost both of his legs to a shark attack and died as a result. It was New South Wales’ third fatal attack in a year.
Nevertheless, the preventive measures implemented at beaches close to Sydney have probably kept New South Wales’ populations low. After a string of deadly attacks, nets and mesh were put in the waterways in 1937, and the program was broadened in the early 1960s. As of 2017, these nets or drumlines, which are baited hooks designed to draw sharks, protected 51 beaches.
Although you may assume that the 259 shark attacks that have occurred in South African seas since 1905 would scare people away, this doesn’t appear to be the case. People from all over the world are swarming to South African seas to go shark diving.
Since South Africa was among the first nations to formally conserve great white sharks, there are plenty to be found. To mention a few, you can see mako, tiger, ragged tooth, hammerhead, bull, and blacktip sharks. Bull sharks that are tough and are called locally as Zambezi can be found close to Kosi Bay.
Due to the numerous shark species present in the ocean, particularly a significant number of great white sharks, Dyer Island, close to Capetown, has acquired the moniker “Shark Alley.” More than 50,000 seals live on Geyser Rock, where these great whites spend their time chasing them.
Volusia County, Florida
Since 1882, there have been 337 attacks in Volusia County, Florida. This is not just the most shark attacks ever reported in Florida, but it also outpaces South Africa, where assaults took place along a coastline spanning 2,798 miles (4,503 kilometers) as compared to a single county.
In fact, there are more incidents per square mile at New Smyrna Beach in Volusia than at any other beach in the world. You most likely came within 10 feet (3 meters) of a shark if you were swimming at New Smyrna. The moniker “Shark Attack Capital of the World” has been given to New Smyrna Beach as a result of these peculiarities.
For many years, Volusia County has held the top position. Are the swimmers at New Smyrna Beach especially tasty? Are the sharks here more ravenous? The number of people in the water is what causes the high number of attacks, not the abundance of baitfish, which is a common food source for these sharks.
These waters are popular with fisherman and swimmers, and this county’s beaches are among the best in the state for surfing. On any given day, there may be 300 surfers in the water.