Marine Animal 101, Part One: Shark Safety Tips

Shark Safety TipsMost humans love the great blue sea, which covers most of our world and features depths and creatures we can only dream about. While the majority of marine life will do you no harm, it's important to know what to do should you encounter one or more of them. Some are seemingly terrifying (thanks, JAWS), while others are gentle giants. In Part One of this series, we'll take a look at what to do should you encounter the ocean's largest predator.

Blood and Prey

Sharks have gotten a bad rap over the years, and have very rarely attacked humans unprovoked. The main thing is not to go in the ocean while bleeding! Sharks can smell blood--menstrual or otherwise--from over a mile away, so stay on the beach if blood is an issue. Don't swim near fishing boats either, as they often leave a trail of fish remains and blood, which will attract sharks. If you injure yourself while in the water, get out immediately, and stay away from groups of fish, seals and sea lions. All are favorite shark feed. Keep a distance from groups of seabirds and dolphins, as they eat many of the same things sharks do. Dolphins are also occasionally prey for large sharks.

Dead Fish, Swimming Times to Avoid

Avoid swimming around dead fish (not that you probably would anyway), and don't swim at night, as sharks are mainly visual hunters. They therefore cannot see as well at night, and might mistake you for a weirdly-shaped sea lion. Don't swim at dusk or dawn either, as these are prime feeding times.

Encountering a Shark

If you do see a shark, remain as calm as you possibly can, and alert anyone around you to the situation. Create a barrier between you and the shark with anything you have, such as a surfboard or camera, and keep movements slow and calm. Panicked, sudden movements are likely to intrigue the shark, as it may think you're an injured animal. Leave the water as quickly and as calmly as you can.

Additional Tips

Swim only when a lifeguard is on duty, and avoid surfing when the water is murky. This makes it difficult to tell if there's a shark in the water. Stay with groups of people, as sharks generally target individuals. If you see fish and turtles behaving erratically, get the heck out of the water, as this usually means a shark is nearby.

Keep these tips in mind and remember to stay calm no matter what!

Have you ever dealt with a shark? Share your experience in the comments section!

About the Author:


Kent Page McGroarty is a freelance lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in AZ Central Healthy Living, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, SF Gate Home and Garden, LIVESTRONG,, I Do Take, and many other online publications. Twitter: @KentsStuff.


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