, It’s Shark Week, But Here Are Some Beach Safety Tips To Follow All Year, The Nzuchi News Forbes

It’s Shark Week, But Here Are Some Beach Safety Tips To Follow All Year

, It’s Shark Week, But Here Are Some Beach Safety Tips To Follow All Year, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Since 1988, Shark Week has reeled in millions of loyal viewers. Last year, a whopping 21 million viewers tuned into Discovery’s Shark Week, and 31 million viewed National Geographic’s SharkFest. Shark television is taking a big bite out of the entertainment industry. But sharks, themselves, very rarely bite humans.

Some shark researchers offer critiques about how outlets steer toward sensational coverage rather than factual information. David Shiffman, a shark expert, told WIRED, “Many Shark Week documentaries focus on so-called ‘shark attacks.’ The word ‘attacks’ makes people think these incidents occur much more than they actually do: The average American is about a million times more likely to die from a heart attack than a shark one.”

Popular Shark Week terms like “shark-infested” water or “man-eating” predators may make you hesitant to venture past the shoreline. Fortunately, ocean experts are providing some much-needed reassurance and safety tips that you can use year-round.

A Placid Shark May Be Close To You Without You Even Knowing It

Sharing water with a shark would be many beach-goers’ worst nightmare. But Chris Lowe, a marine biologist, explained how people often come very close to sharks without ever knowing. Lowe told Outsider, “We have a lot of footage and anecdotal evidence of sharks swimming around where humans play, and as long as people aren’t harassing them, the sharks just don’t care.”

Kelly Slater, a surfer, videoed his own peaceful close encounter with a shark that was swimming in the same wave that Slater was riding.


Research Shark Patterns In The Area

Any beach-goer should remain aware of their surroundings. So before you hit the beach, research any recent shark sightings or shark migration patterns. If sharks are active in your locality, stick to the shallows.

Know Why Sharks May Be Close To The Shore

Sharks approach the shoreline for several reasons. First, fisherman may accidentally attract sharks. The sharks may sense the bait and think they’ve scored a free meal. Steer clear of entering the water near someone’s fishing spot. Second, sharks may prefer the warm water near the shore if the water is colder. Third, the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach reports that some baby sharks and pregnant sharks tend to stick closer to the shore. These more vulnerable sharks may prefer shallow water, avoiding bigger or stronger competitors.

, It’s Shark Week, But Here Are Some Beach Safety Tips To Follow All Year, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Many of the sharks near the waterline are young or small, which pose little threat to humans.

Avoid Splashing And Yelling

Seeing a shark can be startling, but stay calm. According to Tyler Bowling, the manager of the Florida Program for Shark Research, about 1/3 of shark attacks happen when the shark is provoked, startled, or mistakes the human for a seal or another source of prey.

If you come into contact with a shark, do not yell or splash. These frenetic movements could make the shark become territorial. Injured fish often thrash in the water, so a shark may mistake you for an injured fish if you splash. Keep your eyes on the shark, and slowly move away.

Create Distance Between You And The Shark

In the very rare case that a shark approaches you, you can use your goggles, your fins, or a tripod to put distance between you and the shark. However, avoid touching or hitting the animal except as a last resort.

These ocean safety tips help us reclaim shark fact from the JAWS (wink) of television fiction. And when people are aware of basic shark behaviors, they can prepare for a safer beach trip.

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