New Smyrna Beach Shark Attacks and Safety Tips
New Smyrna Beach has earned the title of being the "shark bite capital of the world." The good news is that the number of shark bites have declined over the years. The bad news is that there are still some people who get bit by sharks every year in New Smyrna Beach. Many people who live in the area and visit the area, worry about New Smyrna Beach shark attacks, and rightfully so. The media has shed a lot of light on the stories regarding shark attacks in the area.
The good news is that the attacks are not usually fatal. There was one death, off shore, that was reported by the local newspaper. Otherwise, those who get bit by sharks end up needing some stitches. It's often surfers who get bit on the foot, ankle, or lower leg area. The shark most likely sees their foot in the water and mistakes it for their prey. As soon as they bite down, they usually immediately sense that it is not their prey, and they let go. This tends to leave the person needing some stitches. Some surfers even seem to feel it's a badge of honor that they have earned. New Smyrna Beach has a lot of surfers and many people visit the area for the purpose of surfing. More surfers tend to equal more shark bites.
It's also important to note that the risk of shark attacks are statewide. They are not limited to being in New Smyrna Beach. Whether you are visiting the Gulf side or the Atlantic side, the shark risks are always there. It's the same with other states that have waters where shark can be found. This doesn't mean you should avoid swimming or going in the water in New Smyrna Beach. There are some things you can do to help reduce the risks associated with New Smyrna Beach shark attacks, including:
- Remove any shiny jewelry you have on, so that sharks don't mistake it for fish scales.
- Avoid swimming or going in the water if you have any open wounds or are bleeding.
- Swim near a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not on duty, swim with a group, rather than alone.
- Know the beach warning flags. If the purple flag has been posted it means there is dangerous marine life present, which could be jellyfish, or it could be sharks. Ask a lifeguard or beach attendant what the purple flag is up for that day.
- If you are bit, try to swim to shore and get assistance, because you may need stitches.
- Avoid the areas where sharks tend to be, which is between sandbars and where there are drop offs.
- If a shark bites down on you, it will most likely release immediately, but if it doesn't, punch it between the eyes, or try to gouge its eyes.
- Avoid going into the water where there is fishing being done with a lot of bait fish. The bait fish may attract the sharks, putting you at risk.
- If you see dolphins nearby there could also be sharks, because they eat the same thing.
- Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing or swimwear, because the shark sees contrasts well.
- Avoid moving around erratically, because that can draw a shark's attention to you.
- Never touch a shark. Many shark bites come as a result of people trying to touch them, which are considered provoked attacks.
On average, sharks kill around 16 people per year around the world. Yet, there are around 30 million shark who are killed each year by humans. The odds of you being killed by a shark are very slim, but it's good to be aware and alert. According to the Florida Museum, there were 60 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2018. There was only one unprovoked fatal shark attack in the U.S. in 2018. New Smyrna Beach shark attacks have been on the decline, but they do still happen, so always exercise caution in the water anywhere in Florida.
The Florida Museum offers additional information on shark attacks, including a yearly summary of worldwide attacks, contributing factors, your risk of being attacked by a shark, and more. To get more info, click here.
About the author: Jacqueline Bodnar is the founder and owner of Volusia County Moms. She has been a professional writer/blogger since 2004. Read her full bio here.