The risk of shark attacks in Florida is extremely low.
The risk of shark attack in Florida is essentially non-existent, compared to many other common risks, including:
- Rip currents
- Car accidents
- Dog attacks
- Holes in the sand
The list goes on. Of the very few bites that do occur, most are accidental, and they are almost never fatal.
Most bites are because of mistaken activity. Sharks may mistake a surf board for an animal, or mistake splashing for prey. Shark bites are almost never an intentional attack.
Some beaches in Florida do have higher numbers of shark attacks than others. Volusia County, especially around New Smyrna Beach, tends to have the highest shark activity.
Reduce Risk of Shark Attack
- Avoid swimming when light is low, at dawn, dusk, or night. This is also when sharks are most active.
- Avoid swimming in murky water, or near areas where trash, sewage or other materials are discharged in water.
- Avoid flashy jewelry or clothing which may look like flashy fish scales.
- Avoid areas where people are fishing, or where birds are diving, which may indicate schools of fish.
- Avoid Excessive Splashing: Erratic movements can attract sharks.
- Avoid swimming alone.
- Swim near lifeguards, and stay near shore. Help will be close-by if needed.
- Avoid the water if you have a cut or injury, are menstruating, or are bleeding.
Read more tips from shark experts at the University of Florida
What if you see a shark?
If you see a shark, remain calm. Most sharks are not aggressive towards humans. Try not to panic, splash, or make sudden movements.
Slowly and steadily move towards shore or out of the water.
If a shark seems intent on approaching, experts recommend maintaining eye contact and, if necessary, pushing them away by the snout.
If a shark does attack and you need to fight back, try to aim for sensitive areas like the eyes, tip of the snout, gills.
In closing, remember that “Jaws” is not real. Sharks do not “hunt” humans, and are generally not interested in humans at all.
The odds of any sort of negative encounter are extremely low, and we desperately need shark populations to remain healthy, becuase they are part of a healthy ocean ecosystem.