Following These 5 Tips Can Reduce the Risk of a Shark Attack

   07.24.18

There are two factors contributing to an increase in shark attacks happening each year: an increase in global populations, and more people venturing into the aquatic home of Earth’s oldest predators.

George H. Burgess, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF) urges there are several things humans can do to decrease the chance of falling victim to a shark attack.

You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s important to note that humans are generally not on a shark’s meal regimen.

“These are hit-and-run attacks,” Burgess clarifies, adding that sharks often confuse a person for prey, “bump” them to see if they taste like something they want to eat, then realize they made a mistake and let go of the victim. Unfortunately, these little ‘taste tests’ sometimes leave devastating injuries, leaving the victim in need of immediate medical attention.

So, here are 5 tips to remember next time you go to the ocean that will help decrease your risk of a shark attack:

  • Once the sun goes down, stay out of the water.
  • At all costs, avoid swimming where people are fishing or where seabirds are feeding.
  • Leave your bling at home.
  • Don’t wear fluorescent or patterned clothing
  • Don’t go in the water if you’re bleeding

If a worst-case-scenario does happen, and a shark attacks, hit it on the nose or claw at its eyes and gills to scare it away. You want to avoid acting like prey – meaning violent thrashing – but you need to let the shark know you’re not food and it needs to move along.

For more safety and preparedness tips, go to UFL.edu.

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