In light of the fact we as a group tend to put our selves at risk for the sake of fun more than most I was compelled to seek out some information I thought could help save you or someone else. After reading about the body surfer in New Zealand yesterday I figured sharing some recommendations for avoiding those types of situations would be helpful if not educational at the least. As I go down the list, its obvious that surfer’s break quite a few of these basic ideas and its no wonder why I have gotten creeped out several times, follow your instinct, its all you have! Use this information to reevaluate your surroundings and make better decisions or at least know what your are getting into.
Link to shark species involved in most encounters.
The list below is from the Global Shark Attack File Website.
1) Seek advice of local people before swimming, surfing or diving in areas where shark attacks have occurred.
Reason: Locals know the area.
2) Remain aware of your surroundings and the behavior of marine life nearby.
Reason: Their actions may alert you to the presence of marine predators.
3) If you suddenly become uneasy, leave the water immediately.
Reason: Your instincts may be providing a warning of impending danger.
4) Do not harass or touch any shark, even a small one.
Reason: Any shark is capable of inflicting injury.
5) If swimming or surfing do not enter the water when sharks are present, and leave the water the water slowly and quietly if they are sighted or you are requested to do so by a lifeguard.
Reason: If sharks are in the immediate area, the risk of injury is increased.
6) Do not swim, surf or dive alone
Reason: Sharks may be more likely to bite solitary individuals, and if you are injured there is nobody to help you.
7) Do not stray far from shore
Reason: You are farther from assistance, should you need it.
8) Avoid swimming at night.
Reason: There is strong evidence to suggest that sharks move in closer to a land mass (island or shore) following sunset.
9) Avoid murky or turbid water.
Reason: Some species of sharks hunt in murky or turbid water, others may bite because of stress, and others may simply fail to recognize an
object and bite to find out what it is. It is also difficult to defend yourself from something you cannot see.
10) Avoid swimming close to river mouths.
Reason: Freshwater plankton dies and attracts fish, some species of fish spawn at river mouths, and carcasses of dead animals are carried
downstream. All these conditions attract predators such as sharks.
11) Be cautious when swimming in the breakers.
Reason: Sharks may become stressed due to the low visibility and sudden presence of humans..
12) Don’t swim close to sandbars.
Reason: Any natural structure attracts a variety of marine animals and may be a feeding area for sharks.
13) Be cautious crossing channels between sandbars or on the edge of steep drop offs.
Reason: These are often feeding areas for sharks.
14) Avoid swimming or surfing near jetties.
Reason: These are often feeding areas for sharks.
15) Do not corner a shark or cut off its path to open water.
Reason: It may feel threatened and react defensively.
16) Avoid swimming in areas where birds are diving into the water.
Reason: Diving birds indicate schools of fish are in the area and the likelihood that sharks in the area is increased.
17) If schools of fish are milling nearby, do not attempt to chase them from the area.
Reason: Frightened, darting fish create distinctive sounds that are very attractive to sharks.
18) If baitfish are leaping at or above the surface, leave the water immediately.
Reason: Predator fish, possibly sharks, are feeding on the baitfish.
19) If spearfishing or collecting shellfish, do not attach your catch to a stringer at your waist, and stay alert when removing
a fish from your spear. If wade-fishing, do not carry bait on your person.
Reason: A shark attempting to snatch your catch or the bait, could inadvertently injure you.
20) If spearfishing, change your location frequently.
Reason: The vibrations of speared fish attract sharks.
21) Avoid areas where any type of fishing activity is taking place or offal is dumped into the sea.
Reason: These areas attract sharks.
22) The presence of porpoises and dolphins may indicate sharks are hunting in the area.
Reason: These species often feed with sharks.
23) Leave the water when pods of dolphin cluster or head inshore
Reason: This behavior is often associated with the proximity of sharks.
24) Avoid swimming, surfing or diving in the vicinity of pinniped haul-outs or rookeries.
Reason: These animals are the prey of large sharks, including white sharks.
25) Avoid high contrast swim suits
Reason: It is thought sharks are attracted to high-contrast objects.
26) Refrain from excess splashing or making quick, abrupt movements in the water.
Reason: It suggests an animal in distress.
27) Do not swim with dogs or horses.
Reason: Their splashing may attract a predator.
28) If a shark approaches uncomfortably close, keep it at bay with your speargun or a shark “billy”.
Do not attempt to spear the shark unless you think a bite is imminent.
Reason: The shark may simply be curious, but if you respond with aggression the shark may react in the same way.
29) If you are bitten by a shark and you are wearing a wetsuit, don’t remove the wetsuit except to control arterial bleeding.
Reason: A wetsuit acts as a pressure bandage and restricts the loss of blood.
30) Take both a CPR course and an advanced first aid course.
Reason: Many fatalities in the GSAF file could have been avoided if arterial bleeding had been recognized and stopped, and basic life
support provided until professional medical assistance arrived. The life you save could be your own or that of a loved one.
Copyright © 2005, Shark Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved