Tips on how to avoid confrontation with sharks while swimming in the ocean
When swimming in the ocean, there is always the possibility of a shark encounter. Below are some tips to avoid confrontation with a shark - and what to do if you do encounter one.
Experts say if you see a shark, don't panic, remain calm and slowly get back to the beach and let the lifeguards know.
Shark expert Chris Stefanou, known as the Long Island shark man, says there are different breeds of sharks in our Long Island waters all the time but that doesn't mean we are on the menu. He says the abundance of bait fish like blues and bunker are what sharks are after.
"It's their world, it's their ocean - we shouldn't be afraid," says Stefanou. "Enjoy the day, enjoy the beach and take your necessary precautions."
Stefanou says people should swim in a group, stay close to the shoreline and refrain from wearing bright clothing. Sudden movements and splashing can also attract sharks.
10 TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE AROUND SHARKS
1. Safety in numbers. Stay in a group. Sharks are more likely to attack a solitary person than a group.
2. Beware of the dark. Avoid being in the water at night, dawn or dusk, when sharks are most active and not easily seen.
3. Out for blood: Do not enter the water if bleeding from an open wound or if menstruating—sharks are attracted to blood and their ability to detect blood is very keen.
4. Leave the bling behind. Do not wear shiny jewelry, because the reflected light resembles fish scales.
5. Avoid the feeding frenzy. Do not enter the water in areas where there are signs of baitfish, especially those used by sport or commercial fishermen. Feeding areas or areas where sewage, runoff or rivers flow into the sea are also dangerous. Diving sea birds are good indicators of these areas.
6. Tone it down. Use extra caution when waters are murky and avoid brightly colored clothing—sharks see contrast particularly well.
7. No splash zone. Avoid excess splashing and do not allow pets in the water because their erratic movements may attract shark attention.
8. Skip the local hangouts. Exercise caution when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep drop-offs—these are favorite hangouts for sharks.
9. Don’t panic. Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present and evacuate the water swiftly but calmly if sharks are sighted.
10. Keep your hands to yourself. It goes without saying, but do not harass or provoke a shark if you do encounter one!