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Shark Attacks in Florida

Shark head

                                                                           Photo Fiona Sunquist ©

Shark Attacks in Florida – Where and When they occur and how to avoid them.

Worldwide, the US has the greatest number of shark attacks, and within the US, Florida is way ahead of other states in the number of unprovoked attacks. For example, in 2006 there were 23 unprovoked attacks in Florida, compared to 4 in South Carolina, 3 in Hawaii and Oregon, and 2 in California.

Within Florida, most attacks take place along the beaches of Volusia County – 12 of the 23 attacks in 2006 took place in the waters off Volusia County. George Burgess and the scientists of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) at the Florida Museum of Natural History hypothesize that this is because the near-shore waters of this County are rich in sharks, and are used heavily used by both Florida residents and tourists, and there are a lot of surfers and wind surfers in the area.

Most shark attack victims are surfers and wind surfers, but swimmers and waders are also attacked. Divers and snorklers are attacked much less often, probably because there are fewer of them and because the sharks are less likely to make identification errors in the quiet clear waters frequented by this user group. Sharks tend to attack people who are alone, splashing, wearing shiny jewelry, and swimming in murky water. To reduce the odds (roughly 1 in 10 million) of being attacked by a shark.

• Avoid swimming in murky water.

• Avoid swimming at dusk and dawn.

• Stay in a group.

• Minimize splashing.

• Don’t swim where you see baitfish, or fishermen.

• Don’t go into the water if bleeding.

• Don’t wear jewelry.



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