While sharks are predatory animals, humans are at a very low risk of being attacked. Still, shark attacks do occur, so it’s best to be armed with the knowledge of how to minimise the risk while you’re in the water.
If you’re heading to a tropical destination looking to soak up some sun at the beach, these tips could stop you from attracting unwanted attention from the marine life.
It seems like a given, but avoiding a swim in shark-infested waters is the most important step in avoiding an attack. It’s particularly important for travellers to research the waters they’re likely to swim in, in case sharks are known to be drawn to those areas. Avoid swimming at drop-offs, in between sandbars and where sewage run-off enters the sea as sharks love these conditions. Avoid swimming near fishing boats as well, as that much fishy activity could lure sharks to investigate a potential feed. Dusk and dawn are prime feeding times, so stay out of the water in the early morning and evening.
There are hundreds of species of shark in the world, but only three types pose a real threat to humans. These are the great white, tiger shark and bull shark. Find out what species of shark inhabit the region you’re travelling to and do some research. Recognising a shark is potentially dangerous may give you enough time to calmly leave the water before it notices you.
Brightly coloured swimwear is more likely to attract sharks than dull colours. Silver and shiny colours should particularly be avoided as these can look like fish scales. Jewellery should also be avoided for this reason.
If you do spy a shark, stay as still as possible to avoid attracting its attention. Move slowly and gracefully through the water, avoiding splashing around at the surface or moving erratically, as this is likely to attract the shark, or make it think you are injured and therefore easy prey.
Larger groups of people may deter a shark from attacking. It also means that if a shark attack occurs, there are people around to help the injured out of the water and to safety.
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If you notice fish behaving erratically or grouping in large schools, it could mean there’s a shark feeding nearby. Avoid swimming in cloudy or turbid water as this could mean you don’t pick up on these little clues, or miss spying a shark itself.
With these tips in mind, you’re more prepared to have a safe experience in the water. Remember, shark attacks are incredibly rare, so be alert but not fearful.