Oceans are undoubtedly one of the biggest tourist attractions worldwide. Although the ocean's natural beauty puts surfers, divers and swimmers under its spell, an ocean also has some dangers lurking in its depths. One of those dangers is the possibility of a shark attack. In fact, even some rivers are home to a particularly aggressive type of shark: The bull shark. Although shark attacks on humans are rare, they do happen approximately 56 times a year, worldwide.
In fact, 100 millions sharks are slaughtered every year as they fall victim to human hands. Shark fins are used for a culinary delicacy that is popular in Asia: Shark fin soup. Once the fin is removed, the shark is sometimes thrown back into the water while still alive to die a painful death.
As you can see, contrary to the bad reputation given to sharks by Hollywood, sharks do not target humans as personified in Hollywood movies such as "Jaws" and "Deep Blue Sea." Although there are no words to describe the horror of a shark attack, keep in mind that not all shark attacks are fatal. In fact, there were 62 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2006, of which 4 were fatal. This fact is not meant to downplay the tragedies resulting from shark attacks. Another interesting fact is that contrary to popular belief, not all sharks are dangerous to humans. In fact, 80% of the 350 shark species are considered harmless to humans as they are too small or are plankton eaters.
Here are a few helpful tips on how to prevent a shark attack.
- Beware of the water at dusk, dawn and during the night. Avoid diving, surfing and swimming in the water at dusk, dawn and during the night, as these times are known as feeding and hunting times for sharks. Also, the lack of light can cause confusion for the shark and he can mistake you for his favorite prey--seals and sea lions.
- Stay away from fishing areas, steep drop-offs and sandbars. Fishing areas, steep drop-offs and sandbars are favorite feeding areas for sharks. Avoid them at all costs. If you see diving sea birds, it is also a good indication that sharks may be present. After all, sea birds are also fishing in these locations, which gives you a good clue about the likely presence of sharks in these areas. Also avoid murky waters as the murkiness may confuse the shark so that he mistakes you for prey.
- The presence of porpoises is not necessarily a good sign. The presence of porpoises in a certain area does not mean that sharks are not around. In fact, both porpoises and sharks often swim in the same areas as they often feed on the same prey.
- If it is that time of the month, stay out of the water! If a woman has her monthly period, she should stay out of the water, as sharks have an extremely sensitive olfactory sense. A drop of blood can be detected a mile away!
- Where there is blood, there are sharks! If you have an open wound or injure yourself, stay out of the water as blood will attract sharks. Avoid a painful confrontation with one of these predators.
- Jewelry, contrasts and bright clothing attract sharks! Shiny jewelry resembles fish scales to the eye of a shark. Contrasts caused by an uneven tan and bright colors attract sharks as they can see contrast quite well.
- Avoid erratic movements. Avoid using erratic movements such as those created by your pet when swimming or such as when you are fooling around in the water. These movements attract sharks; they resemble the behavior of an injured prey or one in distress. Excessive splashing can also attract sharks.
- Stay in groups. Never dive, surf or swim alone. Stay in groups and near the shore, as sharks tend to attack loners. Also, if you stay close to shore and you end up needing help, it is easier and faster for you to get it.
- Warning signs should never be ignored. If a warning sign is posted, stating that sharks were sighted in this area, don't tempt fate and defy the odds by taking a chance and entering the water. Don't play with your life and safety!
- If sharks are present, get out! If you see a shark, never harass it as it could turn against you. Just get out of the water as fast as possible. If the lifeguard yells to get out due to the presence of a shark, get out right away.
If you follow these safety tips, you will increase your chances of avoiding a shark attack. There is a difference between bravery and carelessness and this could be the difference between life, death or a life-changing injury that could have been avoided. Make the right choices when swimming in the ocean.