Championship surfer Mick Fanning recently escaped a shark attack during a surfing competition in South Africa. His heroic response to the event (complete with a punch in the back of the shark in an attempt to scare it away) shows that while sharks have a tendency to get feisty, even with the best of us, it helps to be prepared.
Now, the likelihood of a shark attack is relatively low; you are more likely to die from a car accident, a bee sting or a snake bite than an attack from this predator. In South Africa alone, there have only been 214 reported cases of shark attacks between 1905 and 2014. In any event, it is good to take certain precautions before venturing out into the ocean, particularly in a nation of avid surfers. Here are six tips to be aware of to decrease your already teeny tiny chances of becoming a victim of a shark attack.
Look out for warning signs It becomes so easy to ignore warning signs on the beach when we see them, particularly if you are familiar with the area and visit it often. Warning signs are posted for a reason, it is better to be safe than test your fate.
Do not surf alone There is safety in numbers. sharks often attack lone individuals.
Don’t surf if you are bleeding or have a wound that is still healing Sharks can smell and taste blood from more than a mile away and they can easily track the scent back to you. If you have a fresh wound or get into an accident while surfing, it is best to stay away from the water.
Keep erratic splashing to a minimum Playing around in the water is all part of the fun that comes with hanging out at the beach, but splashing around attracts sharks since it gives the impression of a potential catch in distress. Stay calm whenever it is possible.
Fight back and defend yourself While it is important to sat calm if you are in close proximity to a shark, your best defense is to fight back if a shark attempts to attack you. Your surfboard becomes a great weapon in this instance; strike back if you can at a shark’s most delicate parts including its eyes and gills.
Don’t go into the water, or get out of the water if you sight a shark Enough said.