Shark attack! The United States is the most dangerous country in the world when it comes to bloody encounters between people and sharks. It’s especially true in regions where tourism is big business.
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In Hawaii, children are always taught two things about the ocean and sharks.
Today a 65-year-old visitor vacationing on the Island of Hawaii was bitten on her right inner upper thigh by a shark. The bite mark was approximately 12 inches in diameter.
She was around several hundred yards offshore and brought in prone on a kayak via bystanders and does not remember events prior to being bitten. The victim was transported in stable condition to the hospital. A helicopter conducted a shoreline check within an hour of the incident, surveying several miles of ocean and along the coastline with no shark sightings.
What children are always taught in Hawaii about the ocean and sharks is to never turn your back on the ocean because then you won’t be aware of wave swells or anything heading in your direction. They are also taught to never go in the ocean alone. You never know when you will need someone’s help or you will need to help someone in distress.
When you enter the ocean, you are going into the domain of many aquatic animals, the scariest of which is the shark. Are there ways to avoid being attacked by a shark? Here, knowledge is definitely power.
If you see a shark and it is behaving aggressively, the best thing you can do is remain calm and as motionless as possible. While it may be hard not to panic, by not thrashing the water or screaming, this will likely be the biggest factor in whether or not you may be bitten.
Don’t attract attention to yourself by wearing jewelry that shines and reflects light. It can cause sharks to mistake you for a fish in murky water.
If you see a bait ball, get out! A bait ball is when small fish swarm in a tightly packed spherical formation and is a last-ditch defensive measure when they are threatened by predators – as in sharks.
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Before you even go in the water, if you see animal remains on the beach, like dead seals, fish, or whales, there are more likely to be sharks in the water.
Although a shark will be in the water at all times, they mostly hunt at dawn, dusk, and at night because the low light makes it harder for prey to see them coming, and many fish are most active at dusk. Plan your ocean activities accordingly.
Be vigilant around areas with a steep drop-off, because certain species like the great white shark will use the deep water to ambush potential prey.
If despite all your best efforts to avoid a shark, an attack occurs, punch the shark in the nose or eyes, and use anything you have (surfboard, dive tank, etc.) to put it between the shark and yourself.
Immediately seek help from others. If no one is around, use your shirt, wetsuit, surf leash, or anything long enough to tie a tourniquet above the wound on yourself or the person attacked. If the incident occurs while surfing, put the person on a board.
Stay in a group as this will deter sharks from investigating further.
When you get to the beach, keep the legs elevated by pointing the attacked person’s head toward the water as the shore slopes down into the ocean.
Apply pressure directly to the wound with a towel or shirt until emergency responders arrive.
And in the ultimate prevention, first aid and CPR classes are extremely valuable for unexpected situations like a shark attack. Preparation is key and will increase your confidence in the ocean and in life.
Here is a story on the Great White Shark Attack in Australia.