How to Avoid Becoming Shark Food

Swimmers in the waterSum­mer is here—at least for those of us in the north­ern hemisphere—and beach­es are about to see more surfers, swim­mers and adven­tur­ers head­ing out to enjoy the salty sea­wa­ter. It’s good to be aware of even the most unlike­ly dan­gers when enter­ing the open ocean and since shark attacks in the U.S. were up last year, some will inevitably wor­ry about the big tooth­ies. But with a lit­tle bit of pre­ven­ta­tive cau­tion, it’s  easy to avoid becom­ing a Great White’s meal.

Here are some tips to stay­ing off the din­ner menu.

Bleed­ing? Stay out of the water. 
Yes, sharks have a very keen sense of smell—and yes, the smell of blood will absolute­ly attract a hun­gry shark. Even a drop of blood from the small­est of paper cuts can be enough for a shark to pick up your scent. When in doubt: if you’re bleed­ing, don’t go out in the water too far.

Are peo­ple fish­ing in the area? Stay out of the water.
One of the worst places to swim, surf or play in the ocean is an area close to peo­ple fish­ing. Fish bleed and a hun­gry shark might be around to grab a snack or two. Chances are it’ll be look­ing for a fish to bite, but sharks tend to grab for what­ev­er looks tastiest. 

Are there any seals or sea lions about? Stay out of the water.
Sharks like sea lions and seals. Peo­ple swim­ming and surf­ing can eas­i­ly be mis­tak­en for sea lions and seals. Best bet: avoid areas where it’ll be easy to be mis­tak­en for a sea lion or seal.

Near a riv­er mouth? Stay out of the water.
Sharks tend to feed at places where the shelf drops off sud­den­ly or in areas like riv­er mouths. The best way to avoid becom­ing shark food is to avoid being in the areas sharks like to feed.

Is the water par­tic­u­lar­ly murky? Stay out of the water.
Gen­er­al­ly, humans aren’t a sharks pre­ferred meal. Most often peo­ple are mis­tak­en for anoth­er animal—like a seal. In murky water where they can’t see, a per­son swim­ming or pad­dling on a surf­board could very well resem­ble a seal and be prime prey for the day. The shark won’t even real­ize its mis­take until it’s too late. Also: it’s much hard­er to see a shark if you can’t see through the water.

Wear­ing  jew­el­ry? Stay out of the water.
Sharks are attract­ed to bright, shiny things that reflect light. Leave your bling on the shore.

Swim­ming alone? Stay out of the water.
Groups swim­ming seem much more intim­i­dat­ing and less easy prey than a sin­gle swim­mer. Surf and swim with friends and the poten­tial threat will be much lower.

Night­time? Stay out of the water.
Just because sight is lim­it­ed doesn’t mean sharks can’t hunt. The only thing that changes when it’s dark out is the human abil­i­ty to see a shark hunting.