Shark Infested Beaches and How to Stay Safe
Shark Infested Beaches and How to Stay Safe

Spring is upon us and many people are looking forward to visiting the beach. Unfortunately your fun can turn into a nightmare when sharks are lurking around.

Water in itself poses a serious danger to individuals, but what lies beneath the sea, could cause you immense physical pain, if not death. Having said that, shark attacks qualify as something we all need to be aware of.  We rarely hear reports of shark attacks, but that does not mean we are safe from harm. Approximately 4 in one million people get attacked by sharks, but if you will be spending your time at the beach this spring or summer, then these chances are rapidly increased.

Being properly informed lessens your chances of being injured. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) report, there have been 35 attacks thus far worldwide for 2012 and 5 resulted in death.

Listed below are the world’s most shark infested beaches, and unsurprisingly, some very popular beaches are on the list. Calora Travel has also included tips on how you can remain safe while at the beach.

Shark Infested Beaches

New Smyrna Beach, Florida: This beautiful beach recorded 24 shark attacks in 2008. There were 13 attacks in 2010. Statistics point that you are likely to get attacked if you frequent these waters and do not exercise precaution.  Did you know, that the greater the number of people in the water, than the greater the chances of an attack occurring?

North Shore, Oahu, Kahana and West Maui-Hawaii: Galapagos Sharks are known to be found in these waters. Oahu has recorded the second highest number of attacks since 1882. The shark presence here is so high, that every now and then, a shark is spotted in the water.

Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa: This beautiful and popular beach resort is located in Kwazulu-Natal. It is home to the Great White and Bull Sharks. Shark attacks were so frequent in these waters that measures had to be taken to ensure safety, such as protective nets which are now being used. The nets have dramatically decreased attacks, although they do pose harm to smaller water creatures.

Gansbaai, South Africa: This beach is located in Cape Town.  The village of Gansbaai was once dubbed Shark Alley, due to its high number of Great White Sharks. The shark population is so high that it’s common to see tourists diving underwater with guides to observe the sharks up close.

Recife Beach in Brazil:  Recife has the highest recorded number of shark attacks in all of South America.  There have been 46 recorded attacks thus far, 14 of those resulted in death. 

Brisbane Beach in Australia: Located on the South Coast of Australia, Brisbane Beach merges with the river also named Brisbane which has a high shark presence. This results in many sharks migrating to the beach, where there is now a large White Shark population. The East Coast of Australia has recorded several attacks, but more deaths have been recorded in the South Coast.

Coffin Bay, South of Australia: Fourteen attacks were reported in 2010. There have been several attacks on surfers and kayakers in recent years.

Fish Hoek Beach, South Africa: Located in Cape Town, Fish Hoek is as famous for its warm water as it is for its high shark attack numbers. Fish Hoek has recorded  the second largest number of shark attacts according to ISAF reports. There were eight attacks last year only, and two resulted in death. Warning flags are always flown to warn people when sharks are spotted. 

How to stay safe?

It would not be accurate to say that one should avoid deep water since attacks have also been recorded in waist-deep waters.

Caution should be exercised when swimming, especially if you are alone. Lifeguards are there for a reason and they are the best people to ask if unsure about where you are allowed to swim.

Do not ignore instructions and warning signs put up on the beach. If you feel the urge to go into unguarded water, then bring someone along. It is also not advised to swim at dusk or dawn, as this is usually around the time when sharks feed.  Sharks can smell even the smallest amount of blood from 1.6km -- so stay away if you are bleeding or on your period.

Swimming in drop offs, river mountains, fishing spots or where there is a large Sea Lion population should be avoided at all costs.

According to statistics, most attacks occur in “surf zones”. Therefore, surfers need to be extra careful. Also take off any reflective objects or jewellery on your body, as it might attract sharks. Greasy lotions or sunscreen should also be avoided as these may appear as fish scales to sharks.

Also of importance is to avoid attracting attention to yourself, like splashing or erratic movements when in the water. 

Defend yourself during an attack

Should a shark swim near you, it’s important to be as still as possible, and silently swim away once attention is diverted.

Being attacked is the scariest thing and can leave you panicky and not thinking straight. It is important to remember these tips as they might just save your life.

  • Aggressively defend yourself with whatever hard or sharp items are available e.g. stones, knife or board. Staying still is not a good idea - the more you fight, the better your chances.
  • During the attack, try and aim for the shark’s eyes, gills or snout, as these will most likely make it disorientated.
  • Try to stay in a vertical position -- this will make it more difficult for the shark to bite you because of its big snout.
  • Apply as much pressure as possible to the wound, to control the bleeding – such as a torn cloth.


Other Dangerous Sea Animals

Unfortunately the dangers of the sea are endless. The sea is a world of its own and other dangerous animals live in it.  These animals can also be dangerous, such as:

  • Jellyfish
  • Phytoplankton
  • Stingray

If you bear all these precautions in mind, there is no need to be afraid when swimming in the sea. Always remember to stay in the designated swimming areas, and to keep an eye out for the shark flag. Now, enjoy the beach.