Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.
While swimming in the ocean this summer, it’s essential to keep in mind there may be some other critters in the water. Besides the typical jellyfish sting or the occasional nibble at the toes by little fish, there can be sharks in the ocean too. Shark attacks are very rare. However, when they do occur, they are often fatal. We aren’t a shark’s preferred food, so it’s not like they go looking for humans to eat. The easiest way to avoid a shark attack is to stay out of their habitat, but sometimes we find ourselves in situations we didn’t expect to be in.
- Always be aware of where the large predator is. Different sharks attack in different ways. Some circle around, some charge, and some will sneak up behind you for a surprise attack. As soon as you are aware a shark is in the water with you, do not take your eyes off of it.
- Don’t make any sudden moves. It might be tempting to try and outswim a shark, but they’re faster than any human in the water. Instead, try to move slowly towards the boat or the shore without thrashing your arms or kicking to swim. Do not block the shark’s path in the ocean.
- If possible, get out of the water immediately. In shallow water, keep your feet on the ground. Keep your back against any solid items such as a Cliff wall, coral reef, etc. This way, they can only attack you from the front.
- Remember that when a shark is about to attack, it will roll its eyes back into its head. This is a measure to protect its eyes.
- When you have to fight a shark, use all your force to strike a blow to the shark’s gills, eyes, or snout because those are the most sensitive spots. Use an improvised weapon such as a rock, diver air tank, or even a camera. If you happen to have a weapon, use it immediately.
- If the shark persists in trying to attack, you must continue fighting the shark until you can escape or get help. Getting out of the water is the quickest way to get help and escape.
- Try to draw attention to yourself if a boat is nearby by calling out calmly but loud. Do not thrash as this may attract the shark back to you. Instead, get into the boat as fast as possible. If it is possible to get close to the shore quickly, use the smooth reverse backstroke as it requires less thrashing than other ways of swimming.
- If you have been attacked by a shark and can escape, immediately get medical help. Substantial blood loss is very common in a shark attack when you have been bitten. Applying pressure to the wound is the quickest way to reduce blood loss. Remain calm, apply pressure, and consider using a tourniquet if it is severe enough.
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