How to Avoid Shark Attacks
Sharks are apex predators, the "top dogs" of the marine world. They have a reputation as bloodthirsty killing machines, but this view is distorted. Sharks are not unique in consuming animals. For example, humans are predators, eating cattle, pigs, chickens, fish, and other creatures.
As apex predators, sharks limit the populations of the animals they eat. This maintains the balance of nature. Sharks occasionally do attack humans, but not all attacks are feeding events. Sharks sometimes grab humans by mistake. Other times an attack may protect a shark's space, much as a dog barks at and bites intruders.
The yearly average of unprovoked shark attacks on humans is 75, resulting in about 10 deaths. These worldwide numbers are small given the millions of humans that enter the water. You have a better chance of dying from a bee sting, a dog or snake bite, or lightning than from a shark attack.
To decrease your already small chance of becoming a victim of a shark attack, observe the following rules:
1. Always swim in a group. Sharks most often attack lone individuals.
2. Don't wander too far from shore. Doing so isolates you and places you away from assistance.
3. Avoid the water at night, dawn, or dusk. Many sharks are most active at these times and are better able to find you than you are to see them.
4. Don't enter the water if bleeding. Sharks can smell and taste blood, and trace it back to its source.
5. Don't wear shiny jewelry. The reflected light looks like shining fish scales.
6. Don't go into waters containing sewage. Sewage attracts bait fishes, which in turn attract sharks.
7. Avoid waters being fished and those with lots of bait fishes. Diving seabirds are good indicators of such activities.
8. Don't enter the water if sharks are present. Leave immediately if sharks are seen.
9. Avoid an uneven tan and brightly colored clothing. Sharks see contrast particularly well, so use extra caution when waters are cloudy.
10. Don't splash a lot. Also, keep pets out of the water. Erratic movements can attract sharks.
11. Use care near sandbars or steep drop-offs. These are favorite hangouts for sharks.
12. Don't relax just because porpoises are nearby. Sightings of porpoises do not indicate the absence of sharks. Both often eat the same foods.
13. Don't try to touch a shark if you see one!
14. If attacked by a shark, the general rule is "Do whatever it takes to get away!" Some people have successfully chosen to be aggressive, others passive. Some yelled underwater, others blew bubbles. I personally would go down fighting.