Recent rise of shark attacks demands greater precaution


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Zoierae Hill, Reporter

Recently, a handful of shark attacks has spooked many beachgoers into staying away from the water, but there are some ways to avoid becoming shark bait.

According to “The Kids’ How To Do (Almost) Everything Guide,” the first tip is to swim in a group. Sharks are much more likely to attack a lone individual rather than a group.

Another tip is not to wander too far from shore, especially alone. The farther away one swims, the farther away from other people who could be potential help should an attack occur.

Swimmers should avoid going into the water at night, dawn and dusk. These are prime feeding times for sharks who are more likely to be hunting. Since light is limited at these times, sharks are better able to find a human during these hours when a human will have a difficult time spotting them.

Swimmers should never enter the water if they are bleeding. Sharks can smell and taste blood and are capable of tracing it back to its source as far as a quarter of a mile away. A great white shark can smell blood from an even greater distance.

Swimmers should not wear shiny jewelry. The light reflected off the jewelry can resemble fish scales, luring sharks into thinking they are about to find food.

When there is sewage in the water, swimmers should not go in. Sewage attracts fish, specifically bait fish which attract sharks. The same is true for brown water advisories. Both sewage and murky water make it difficult to see a shark in addition to the possibility that they will be present in the area.

Since bait fish attract sharks, it is best to avoid areas where these fish usually swim. Diving seabirds are often good indicators of the presence of these fish, as are fishermen in the area.

If people plan on swimming, they should not do so when they have uneven tans as sharks can see contrast particularly well. Brightly colored swimsuits also should not be worn because of this.

Because erratic movements can attract sharks, excessive splashing should be avoided. It is also a good idea to keep pets out of the water.

Swimmers should exercise care near sandbars or steep drop-offs. Sharks often swim in these areas.

Many believe that when dolphins are nearby, sharks are not. However, this is untrue. Although the two are known to fight sometimes, they eat the same food and will, thus, be where their common prey swims.

According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, “The number of shark bites has doubled in the past decade, the state said, averaging nine a year over the past five years.”

If attacked by a shark, the general rule is to do whatever it takes to get away. There are cases of people successfully escaping by being both passive and aggressive. Some have yelled underwater or blown bubbles. Others have hit at sharks on the nose as hard as they can.

If there are signs that sharks are present or if there are beach warnings, swimmers should stay out of the water. Animals are often unpredictable. Caution is the best method of prevention.

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