Unless climate change causes sharknadoes to form, the possibility of being attacked by a shark only exists if you are in a body of water inhabited by sharks.
Chances of an unprovoked attack are extremely low (read: https://the-worlds-deadliest.com/2020/04/05/odds-of-being-fatally-attacked-by-a-shark/), but do happen. However, preventative measures can be taken to minimize the risk of a shark attack.
I came up with the acronym “PACTS” in hopes to be easily remembered and applied to minimize your chances of being attacked. It stands for PREY, AREA, COGNIZANT, TIME, SHARK.
- P for PREY- Do not resemble a shark’s prey. Do not enter the water with shiny jewelry or bright, contrast clothing because it can attract a shark’s attention. Avoid quick and excessive movement, as this may be perceived as struggling prey or pique their interest. Do not swim alone, as sharks are less likely to approach a group.
- A for AREA – Where you are in the water is very important. Do not swim in areas known to have dangerous shark species. Avoid drop-offs, dips in between sandbars, and fishing areas. Sharks tend to hangout in these areas. Unlike human blood, sharks are very interested in the blood of fish. Stay away.
- C for COGNIZANT- Be knowledgeable and aware of your surroundings. Know what species of shark inhabit the area; what species pose a threat? Keep an eye out for sharks, and if one is spotted, know where you can safely exit the water.
- T for TIME – Do not swim from dusk till dawn, or on an overcast day. Sharks are more active and likely to hunt at times when the amount of light is low.
- S for SHARK – If a shark is in close proximity, do not turn into Michael Phelps. Instead, remain calm and maintain eye contact while facing your body towards the shark at all times. Proceed to slowly swim away (backwards) and exit the water, if possible. If you cannot do so and the shark does not seem too interested, curl into a ball to avoid being perceived as a threat. If the shark is circling you or zigzagging, he/she is interested. Make yourself as big as possible while continuing to face the shark and maintain eye contact. If the shark swims too close for comfort, gently push it away. If the shark appears aggressive and you feel it is going to attack, punch or gouge the eyes and/or gills of the shark in an attempt to scare it off.
Sharks can smell human blood (and other bodily fluids), but do not swim miles to eat its source; a common myth. Instead, sharks do not care for the scent of our blood or taste of us. A shark attack is often an exploratory bite out of curiosity.
Knowing how to minimize your risk of being attacked by a shark is important. However, it is also imperative to know what to do if attacked. I will publish a post on what to do in the future.
Sources of information: