~ STATISTICAL EXAMPLES ~
A statistical study, March 2003, noted that the odds of being eaten by a shark are 1 in 281,000,000.
The relative risk of a shark attack is very small compared to other things.
Here are just a few statistical examples for you to compare...
Automobiles: Fatalities Per Year = 1,200,000
Airplanes: Crashes For 1999 = 20, Fatalities For 1999 = 641
Alligators: Attacks Per Year = 236, Fatalities Per Year = 8
Lightning: Strikes Per Year = 11,251, Fatalities Per Year = 3011
Sharks: Fatalities Per Year = Average 5
~ HAND SIGNAL ~
This is an internationally known hand signal to alert others that a shark has been spotted. This signal is used by divers and snorkelers to communicate to each other that they see a shark.
~ PREVENTION ~
Of course, risks of any kind should always be minimized whenever possible in any activity. The chances of having an interaction with a shark can be reduced if one heeds the following tips...
* Always stay in groups since sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
* Do not wander too far from shore... this isolates an individual and additionally places one far away from assistance.
* Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight hours when sharks are most active and have a competitive sensory advantage.
* Do not enter the water if you are bleeding... a shark's olfactory ability is acute.
* Wearing shiny jewelry is discouraged because the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales.
* Avoid waters with known effluents or sewage and those being used by sport or commercial fisherman, especially if there are signs of bait fishes or feeding activity. Diving seabirds are good indicators of such action.
* Sightings of porpoises do not indicate the absence of sharks... both often eat the same food items.
* Use extra caution when waters are murky and avoid uneven tanning and bright colored clothing... sharks see contrast particularly well.
* Refrain from excess splashing and do not allow pets in the water because of their erratic movements.
* Exercise caution when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep dropoffs... these are favorite hangouts for sharks.
* Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present and evacuate the water if sharks are seen while there. And, of course, do not harass a shark if you see one!
~ IN CASE OF ATTACK ~
* Do Not Panic. The more you panic the more you will get the shark's attention.
* Hit the shark on the nose. A blow to the nose will sometimes confuse a shark's senses and lead to the shark losing track of where you are in the water and breaking off the attack.
* Stick your finger in the shark's eyes or nostrils. This could help to fight the shark off giving you time to get out of the water.
* Get medical help immediately. If you are bitten by a shark get medical attention as soon as possible. Most fatalities from shark attacks are caused by loss of blood.