In South Florida, every week is shark week. In fact, Florida led the United States in shark bites for the year 2011. If you were attacked, would you be prepared to defend yourself in a deadly shark encounter?
There have been a total of 637 recorded shark attacks in Florida since 1882, with only 11 of them resulting in death, so don’t be too worried. Fortunately for South Floridians, most of these attacks (242 of them) took place in Volusia County, which is well north of Orlando. But Palm Beach County has the third highest attack rate (60), so don’t get too comfortable!
Should you find yourself about to become prey, try to remember these tips that might save your life:
Try not to let the shark sense your fear, but don’t play possum either. If you panic, you will become prey!
Remember, the shark can swim faster than you. That sort of eliminates the whole “Fight or Flight” aspect from this situation and forces you to defend yourself while submerged in water. Since most shark meals don’t ever fight back, even the slightest sign of resistance on your part can be enough to make the shark leave you alone. Chances are you will be unarmed, so make sure to aim for the nose/eyes/gills, avoid the teeth, and never lose sight of where your attacker is.
Don’t ever assume you are safe until you reach dry land. A shark may leave you alone temporarily just to sneak up on you from behind. As you swim back to shore, do your best to avoid splashing the water or acting erratically, since this will make you appear wounded and tempt the shark to continue its attack.
If you are wounded when you reach the shore, seek medical attention immediately. The wounds will only get worse with time and can cause other problems if left untreated. It is also important to keep remaining calm at this point since panicking will cause blood to pump faster throughout the body.
Some people, like surfers, are more prone to an attack than others. That doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen to you. In June 2012, a 6-year-old boy was attacked by a shark while playing in waist-deep water at the beach in Jupiter, Florida.
I promise, I’m not trying to scare you. I am just trying to keep you safe (by scaring you) so you can enjoy some fun in the Sun on more than one occasion.
Do you have any cool shark stories to share? Leave a comment!