Sharks are around - even in the Gulf of Mexico

There is another "nasty" fish out there, so let's talk about sharks. Although sharks are present all the time, you won't see them. They can usually be found in deep waters and around inlets. So, is it safe to swim in Florida's waters?


They come closer to shore in the summer because the shallow water is a breeding ground for many fish species, and they like to eat fish. Yes, fish and not humans; we are not on the shark's menu at all. However, it happens from time to time that sharks mistakenly take a bite. Sharks, like stingrays, have poor vision. Therefore, they attack moving targets or interesting-looking ones. 


What are the chances of falling victim to a shark versus getting hit by lightning in Florida? The lightning bolt is the clear winner! In the U.S., your chances of getting killed by lightning are 75 times greater than getting killed by a shark. Bees, wasps, and snakes, even cows kill more people each year than sharks. So what? Still afraid? The following are a few things you can do to minimize the risk of a shark attack. However, while you do this, you better watch the sky for dark clouds in the sky because there might be real danger coming to you. Get more information.

Can You Outsmart a Shark?

Sharks were already around when dinosaurs were still ruling the world. The first humans came way later, but because they were on the face of the earth for so long, that doesn't necessarily mean that sharks are more intelligent than people (well, maybe some of them are). Their brain did not develop further and remained the same "fish brain" over millions of years. It is well suited for what Sharks need to do to survive. But that is pretty much it. 
So, sharks can be classified as "low-brainers" without insulting them. It is what it is. Sharks are basically instinct-driven, and you would have a hard time teaching them to jump through a tube. The fish react to something like movement or smell, like blood in the water. Movement or blood in the water means something to eat. Unfortunately, a fast-moving shadow, like a swimmer, also looks like prey. When your watch or necklace reflects the sunlight, sharks might find it "interesting" because fish scales reflect sunlight as well; therefore, if you can't see very well, a "test bite" is the only way to determine what it is. That "test bite" is often survivable, but the victim is doomed if the main artery is damaged. So what can you do?

Yes - Shark Attacks are Rare

What are the odds for a person to get bitten or attacked by a shark in Florida waters? 64 unprovoked shark attacks on humans and 41 confirmed provoked attacks were reported in 2019. Unprovoked means a shark attack "out of the blue," while provoked means the shark attacked while being unhooked, teased, or removed from a net. Fortunately, most bites are rarely life-threatening. 

Better Safe than Sorry- Minimize the Risk of an Attack

If you want to go swimming on an ocean beach, and if you are concerned about sharks, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting into the line of fire. 

 

  • Always stay in groups since sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual. 
  • Refrain from excess splashing, as this may draw a shark's attention. Wounded prey splashes. Why do you want to attract them? 
  • Wearing jewelry is discouraged. The reflection of shiny silver resembles the sheen of fish scales. 
  • Use extra caution when the waters are murky. When you can't see well, sharks can't see well either. Sharks have a reduced vision, and in murky water, that vision doesn't get any better. 
  • Be careful when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep drop-offs. These are favorite hangouts for sharks because that is where their prey is. 
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight hours when sharks are most active. As mentioned before, Sharks cannot see very well; they attack whatever is moving. 
  • Avoid waters with known discharges of sewage and waters used for fishing. Who wants to swim in sewage anyway? 
  • Be wary of feeding birds or porpoises, which indicate the presence of fish. Those fish are shark food. So, that is probably a perfect spot to be for a shark. 

Even some more Rules

  • Sharks can see contrast particularly well. Uneven tans and bright-colored clothing may draw a shark's attention. 
  • Never harass a shark! Sharks are "shy," they don't like confrontation. They prefer to attack when it seems safe to them. If you corner one, he might "feel uncomfortable." Let him swim away. Don't try to be a hero. A 6' shark can quickly teach you who the "boss" is. You are by far not fast enough to get out of the water before he bites. 
  • Prefer to swim in areas tended by lifeguards. From their towers, they can detect sharks better than you down in the water. 
  • Do not enter the water if bleeding - blood is attracting sharks, and they can smell very well. 
  • While there are myths and anecdotes about dolphins saving humans from shark attacks, sighting dolphins does not indicate the absence of sharks—both often eat the same foods. Don't expect "Flipper" to protect you. He may or he may not - but this is not Hollywood - this is the real world, and you don't want to find out if flipper is your best friend ...or not.