Blog about Underwater Life and Scuba Diving

Is it worth to worry seeing a shark during diving

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The existing global statistics about attacks of sharks are not entirely reliable as It has been changed significantly over the past decade. If we talk about the average value, then it is about nine unprovoked shark attacks per year. Slightly less than 20% of them are fatal cases.

In other words, a few million dives per annum with less than two fatal accidents because of shark attack. Deaths caused by lightning strikes are much more likely and I’m not talking about deaths caused from car accidents, but everyday we drive car not fearing about death, right?

In addition I want to add that there are areas where the chance of being attacked by shark is higher than in other places. The most frequent cases of attacks occurred on the continental shelf of the USA (mainly Florida and California), Australia, as well as two-thirds of the coast of South Africa.

Sharks are one the most mysterious creatures of Ocean waters and still there are many thing which are not even investigated. They exist for over ten million years and during this period they changed very little.

There are about 370 varieties of sharks, ranging from 15 cm (Dwarf Lanternfish aka Etmopterus perryi ) and reaching up to 13 m ( Whale sharks ) .

Smallest shark: Etmopterus perryi whale shark

Sharks are fearsome predators, with amazingly sharp sensory system. They can feel very weak electric fields, low frequency sounds (such as issued by dying or wounded animal). Sharks are able to detect the smell of single drop of blood which dissolved in million drops of water. At the same time the vision of sharks are not well developed.

Most of sharks are not dangerous for humans at all. There are only about 42 species of sharks which have ever been detected during attacks. Mostly attacks occur with presence of Great White Shark (call me crazy, but I adore this animal). According to ocean researchers, these sharks are often taking people for seals (their traditional food). In fact, people are not “good choice” for them. They pay much more attention to animal with rich fat such as seals and sea lions. After the Great White Sharks, Tiger and Bull sharks are leading.

great-white-shark tigershark bullshark

Attacks mainly occur from the bottom or from rear, thus sharks are not visible by diver. But if the diver is able to see the shark, he can understand sharks intention from its be. Usually nervous shark is S-bending his body while swimming: Curving it’s back, pectorals descent, the tail fin is straining, sometimes (rarely) it is possible fluctuation of head from side to side.

What to do when a shark becomes aggressive

If you see a shark, who have taken the above posture, try to go back to the boat, if it is possible, if no, slowly go to the bottom, or push yourself to the wall reef.

If a shark is approaching very close to you, let the train of bubbles from your scuba gear directly on the fish, as well try to scream.

If nothing helps and shark still approaching you, try to hit its face, but only if you have gloves on hands or any solid object (eg, camera). The skin of many sharks is very rough and can easily make your hand to bleed ( there no need to describe what will happen in that case )
How to avoid shark attacks

You can reduce the already tiny chance of an attack by following these simple tips

* Do not dive in places where there fishing is taking place, particularly near the submarine hunters. Diving seabirds are good indicators of such activities.
* Immerse with group and not alone. – Sharks most often attack lone individuals
* Do not open the deep and shallow places near stall deep.
* Avoid the water at night, dawn, or dusk – Many sharks are most active at these times and are better able to find you than you are to see them.
* Do not dive in troubled waters.
* Avoid wearing shiny jewelry and dresses with contrasting colors. – The reflected light looks like shining fish scales.
* Do not disturb sharks.
* Do not dive if you have a bleeding wound.
* Go back to the boat when the shark becomes too inquisitive or take an aggressive posture.

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