These timely tips, especially for me as I'm training for a sprint triathlon that involves a 1/4 mile ocean swim, are useful to all coastal residents who spend any time in the ocean.
Some of these are pretty common sense, such as avoiding dead animals and waste in the water, and bait areas for fishing, and yet others are not as common sense, with certain contrasting colors not being conducive for ocean swimming.
- Avoid fishing boats. They often trail fish remains and blood, which can sharks like.
- If you're bleeding, including menstruating, stay out of the water. Sharks can smell/taste the SMALLEST amounts of blood from over a mile away! This includes: if you cut or injure yourself in the ocean, get out.
- Don't swim in water filled with fish blood or bait fish are present. Avoid fisherpeople!
- Avoid large groups of fish, seals or sea lions; all are prominent on sharks' menus.
- If you see large groups of dolphins and seabirds, avoid the area. These guys are often attracted to ths same good groups that sharks enjoy. Don't make the mistake of thinking that dolphins presence means there are no sharks.
- Don't swim with dead animals. Simple enough.
- Avoid areas where ANY kind of waste enters the water. This kind of waste, whether it's anmial, human, or fish waste.
- Avoid the "high risk" times: dawn, dusk and night.
- Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances, channels, and steep drop-offs. These areas are frequented by sharks.
- Avoid high-contrast clothing (orange and yellow are said to be risky colors) or shiny jewelry (which may appear to be like fish scales). Sharks see contrast very well.
- Refrain from excessive splashing. This includes pets. Sharks are attracted to such activity.
- Leave the water quickly and calmly if a shark is sighted. Do not run screaming from the water like they did in the first "Jaws" movie. Do not provoke, harass or entice a shark, even a small one. Enough said!
- If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, leave the water. They may be behaving like that because there is a shark in the area.
- If you feel something brush up against you, get out of the water to make sure that you have not been bitten. There have been reports that shark-bite victims often do not feel any pain.
- Swim, surf or dive with other people. Sharks most often attack individuals.
- Don't swim too far from shore. Doing so isolates you and places you away from assistance. And from other people, which was just mentioned above.
- If you are diving and are approached by a shark, stay as still as possible. If you are carrying fish or other catches, release the catch and quietly leave the area.