While reported shark attacks are gradually increasing each year in the US (47 in 2013) and worldwide (72), they are still far less frequent than lightning strikes.
Here are 10 ways to reduce your risk:
1. Don’t swim alone. Always stay near others in the water.
2. Don’t get too far from shore.
3. Stay clear of areas used by commercial fishermen.
4. Don’t go in the water if sharks are known to be present and leave immediately if one is sighted.
5. Don’t swim in the dark or at twilight, as these are times that sharks are more active.
6. Don’t go in the water if you are bleeding from an open wound.
7. Take off jewelry and other shiny objects as they may reflect light and be mistaken for fish scales.
8. Take precautions between sandbars or around steep drop-offs as these are areas that sharks frequent.
9. Never ever provoke or harass a shark of any kind, even those thought to be “harmless.”
10. Finally, if you are truly concerned, avoid going in the water at all.
With all that said, the number of attacks is very, very small compared with the number of miles of coastline that we have in the United States and the very large number of people swimming in the ocean throughout the year.
The simple application of caution and a few basic does and don’ts will increase your level of safety and your confidence level.
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