Why do we have an abnormal fear of sharks? The chances of dying by shark is much lower than say by slipping in the bathtub. The film Jaws hasn’t helped this fear. That theme music is enough to have you running for the sand dunes. New Smyrna, Florida in the US is considered the most dangerous place in the world for shark attacks, in 2013 there were 53 shark attacks in the US, most were in Florida and California, states with long coastlines and warm waters. Western Australia is the most dangerous in Australia. In Hawaii if you watch the locals, the only activity they seem to do at the beach is have a bbq. We asked them. They don’t tend to swim. Only tourists seem to venture in.
If the locals don’t swim and splash about there is probably a good reason not to do so either. Anything can happen. Sharks maybe the first thing on your mind as you enter the water but there are things far more life threatening. Oh and just wading in the ocean can be just as dangerous as out deep. The statistic for Mexico was a woman standing in the shallows while feeding fish in Quintana Roo. She fortunately survived. There may be sea snakes, barracudas, jellyfish, or any number of sea creatures or broken glass. You may cut yourself on coral. You may get sunburn. You may get swept out by a wave. You will get sand in places unpleasant. Watch out for sand rash!
Nil unprovoked shark attacks for the Pacific Islands and Asia. On first thoughts great but over fishing of sharks for their fins for soup or dumplings, and sharks getting caught in commercial fishing nets are probably the cause of the decline in numbers.
If you decide to enjoy the wonders of the ocean be safe and enjoy. Remember to slip slap slop*! Enjoy the sunset. Enjoy the colours. Leave only footprints in the sand. Go visit an aquarium and view the sharks from the safety of toughened glass. Or scroll through videos of jellyfish.
(*Apply sunscreen when you go in the sun!)
Growing up in New Zealand the fish in the “fish and chips” was commonly shark. Nowadays the fish is either snapper or cod.
If you insist on entering the ocean water to go surfing, wake boarding, swimming or diving then these scientifically researched wetsuit designs by Hamish Jolly from Western Australia may save you.