Shark Attack

For the love of all things holy, do not swim with sharks to see if you can escape.

You have a better chance of being struck by lightening than being attacked by a shark. Out of the 344 species of sharks in the world, only 3 are responsible for most of the attacks on humans: Great Whites, tiger sharks and bull sharks. Great whites and tiger sharks are more common the further you venture from shore. Bull sharks, however seem to be venturing closer to shore and up estuaries even into fresh water streams that empty into the sea. The reason for this is most likely due to a depletion of food in the shark's normal hunting grounds due to the fishing industry.

Shark attacks are either the result of mistaken identity or a sharks attempt to investigate. Unfortunately a modest taste from a shark could be enough to kill a person due to blood loss and shock. If a person is violently attacked, the shark had most likely mistook them for their natural food source. Reflective jewelry or clothing can resemble the reflective skin of fish. Dangling the pale bottoms of your feet or hands in the water also resembles fish. Lying on a surfboard with your hands and feet dangling in the water resembles a fat juicy seal. Splashing in the water can emit vibrations similar to a shark feeding or a fish in distress. Bull sharks have poor eye-site and are increasingly common in warm shallow waters. These factors put Bull sharks at a higher risk for a mistaken identity attack on a person. Sharks do not actively seek people as a source of food. Even so, sharks do deserve the utmost respect. Fishing and pollution caused by man has depleted the shark's source of food, forcing them to investigate new areas in which to hunt. Unfortunately this may put them in close proximity to humans. As a result, as the human population has risen and the seas have been increasingly exploited, shark attacks although extremely rare have risen in number as well.

Prevention

In addition to great whites, tigers, and bulls, there are a number of other sharks that have reportedly attacked people or boats. The metal and equipment on a boat produces a strong electromagnetic field around the boat, which can confuse a shark as they are highly sensitive to these magnetic fields. All sharks do deserve your respect as they represent the top of the food chain in the sea. Killing sharks because of recent attacks is senseless violence that rarely if ever actually kills the individual shark that was involved in the attack. A more efficient way of reducing shark attacks is by reducing the exploitation of their environment and by remembering the following guidelines when swimming:

  • Follow posted signs and warnings. If a sign says no swimming, do not swim.
  • Never swim in waters where sharks are common. Ask local residence if you're unfamiliar with the area.
  • Never swim where people are fishing.
  • If you are swimming at a populated beach, stay among the crowd. Safety lies in numbers.
  • Avoid swimming near deep channels or where the water suddenly deepens. Sharks like to stalk these areas where they are difficult to detect.
  • Avoid swimming near a shark's natural prey. This means avoiding swimming near schools of fish or seals.
  • Surfing off the Pacific U.S. coast in suddenly deep water near seals with a dark rocky sea floor is asking for a great white to attack you. Great Whites are actually dark brown to black on top making them virtually invisible against a dark rocky background. If you're attacked you never see it coming.
  • Avoid wearing shiny reflective or brightly colored jewelry watches or clothing in the water.
  • Avoid swimming at dawn, dusk or after dark when sharks venture closer to shore for feeding.
  • Stay out of the water when you are bleeding. Some sharks can detect one part blood in one billion parts seawater. Bleeding is an invitation for attack.
  • Women should not swim during their menstrual cycle.
  • Do not swim alone.

Treatment:

A shark attack victim is most likely to die from blood loss or shock so quickness and controlling blood loss is key.

  • Immediately yell for someone to "call 911 for a shark attack victim with blood loss" as you run toward the victim.
  • Quickly remove the victim from the water.
  • While carrying them to shore, attempts should be made to control bleeding. Bleeding is normally controlled by applying pressure to the open cut or to an artery. However, this may be difficult as you are carrying the victim to shore, so a tourniquet may be used to help control blood loss.
  • Lie the victim on the beach with their head pointed down the slope to increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Make sure someone has called 911 and help is on the way.
  • Wrap the victim in a blanket to control heat loss.
  • Do not feed the victim alcohol or warm drinks, only sips of fresh water.
  • Do not move the victim unless they are in danger of drowning or until paramedics have arrived and the victim has recovered from shock. Moving them may increase shock.
  • Always continue to control bleeding.
  • You may want to take the victims pulse rate and blood pressure for future reference.
  • (Review First Aid bleeding, cuts and shock.)

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