A tragic event occurred this past Sunday at Oak Island, NC. Two teenagers were attacked by a shark within hours of each other. A 13-year old girl was first attacked while swimming near the Ocean Crest Pier around 4:15 pm. 90 minutes later, a 16-year old boy was attacked in the same area. Both teens lost a limb; the girl’s arm was amputated at the elbow, the boy’s arm at the shoulder. They are both in stable condition. For more information about these attacks visit CNN and WCNC.
It is key to remember that shark attacks are not common, especially attacks on the same day. Take a look at The Fisheries Blog for 10 things more likely than a shark attack.
That being said, there are things that you can do to prevent a shark attack from happening:
1. Swim in groups – sharks are less likely to attack a group, if you are alone you are more likely to resemble prey.
2. Avoid places where fish congregate – if there are lots of fish in an area they attract larger fish and sharks (think about it, we congregate around food too). Below are the main fishy hangouts:
– fishermen (there is a reason fishermen choose those spots!)
3. Don’t swim after heavy rain or storms – the water is very murky and it makes it hard for sharks to see if you are a person or a big fish.
4. Avoid swimming at night, dawn, or dusk – these are prime-time shark hunting hours!
5. Stay close to shore – sharks typically stay in deeper water, so stay where you can easily touch the bottom.
6. If you see a group of dolphins and seagulls, stay away! – dolphins and seagulls eat fish. If they are eating, chances are sharks will come to see what the fuss is about and eat too.