Florida has the highest shark activity of any other region in the world.
In 2016, 53 unprovoked shark attacks occurred in the U.S., according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF). Thankfully there were no deaths from the attacks. Florida, suffered the most with 32 assaults. In fact, most shark attacks happen in Volusia and Brevard counties.
“While the idea of a shark attack is terrifying, it is extremely rare,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency. Experts believe there is a greater chance of being killed by lightning or an asteroid. ISAF reports the chances of being involved in a shark attack are one in 11.5 million.
The species most likely to attack?
Bigger species of sharks usually inflict the most severe injuries to victims. The most common species involved in an unprovoked attack include, the great white, tiger and bull sharks. Notably, great whites and bull sharks will sometimes swim close to shore or in shallow waters.
What if you see a shark while in the water?
Paul de Gelder, former Australian Navy Diver and shark attack survivor counseled Outside Magazine, if you see a shark, steady your breathing. He also advised, “Losing your cool and thrashing around is the easiest way to join the ocean’s food chain.”
What is the course of action if you find yourself in the midst of an attack?
“Hitting a shark on the tip of the snout is a good idea, but this is effective only prior to an actual bite. Afterwards, clawing at the gills and eyes is the best possible strategy. By this time, the shark is fully into its attack behavioral sequence, and only the weakest, most sensitive areas are vulnerable. Always demonstrate strength- there’s no such thing as playing dead around a shark!”
-George Burgess, Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research and curator for ISAF, told to Outside Magazine.
“If you are around when someone is attacked, put basic skills to the test. Call 911 and apply as much pressure as possible to the injured area,” advises Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.
Preventing a shark encounter
Do not swim alone.
Steer clear of the water at night when sharks are most active.
Do not go in the water if you are bleeding.
Avoid wearing shiny jewelry. The reflected light looks like fish scales to a shark.
Keep a good distance from fishing piers or where people are fishing.
Stay away from areas where seabirds are diving for baitfish or fish are jumping.
Do not splash a lot.
Heed beach flags.
Get out of the water if you see sharks.
Be cautious swimming between sandbars and around drop offs.
GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians stay healthy. Our experienced agents can offer you and your family quality health insurance through Florida Blue. Call us at 888-478-7801 or go online to www.greatflorida.com for a free quote today.