On Memorial Day 2011 a University of Houston senior, Kori Roberston, was bitten by a shark in the Surfside beach of Galveston, Texas. However, this blog is not to give sharks a bad rap (for we all know they have a bad enough rap as it is), but it is to focus on the rarity of shark attacks and how you can help prevent, your already low chances, of becoming a victim.
When my friend, Jacquie Stauffer, forwarded me this story it hit home for me. Not because I knew the young girl or because I am a fellow shark victim, but because I called these waters my personal "pool" for five years. Just to reiterate the rarity of shark attacks, the whole time I lived in the Galveston area not once did I hear about a shark attack.
Since this blog was prompted by a shark attack in Galveston, I would like to briefly look at the statics of previous shark attacks in Galveston and the surrounding counties (Nueces, Cameron, Matagorda, Brazoria, and Kleberg).
Pulling data from, we can analyze the number of shark attack in these counties from 1911-2010. In Galveston county there have been a total of 14 shark attacks, with one fatal attack in 1911. The second most shark attacks occurred in the Nueces county with 10, 0 fatal. Cameron county has had 6 shark attack, one fatal attack in 1962. Matagorda county had 2 attacks, while Kleberg and Kenedy have both had one shark attack, no fatal attacks in these counties. Not only are shark attacks rare, but they are seldom fatal, with the last fatality from a shark attack being back in 1962 - 49 years ago!
Sharks do not just attack people, we are not on their dinner menu, and in all reality they would personally like to avoid us for the most part. However, a shark will attack if, 1) they accidentally mistake us for a snack, and 2) if we invade their territory. There are additional steps you can take to reduce, your already low chances, of being the next victim of a shark attack.
1) Always swim in a group.
2) Don't wander too far from shore.
3) Avoid the water at night, dawn, or dusk for this is when sharks are most active.
4) Don't enter the water if bleeding. Shark can smell and taste blood - tracing it back to the source.
5) Don't wear shiny jewelry. The reflected light looks like shining fish scales.
6) Don't go into waters containing sewage. Sewage attracts bait fish - bait fishes attract sharks.
7) Avoid water being fished and those with lots of bait fish. If you see a lot of diving seabirds that is a good sign that there are bait fish in the water.
8) Don't enter the waters if sharks are present. Does this really need to be stated?
9) Avoid an uneven tan and brightly colored clothing. Sharks can see contrast extremely well!
10) Don't splash a lot.
11) Use care near sandbars or steep drop-offs - a shark's favorite hangout.
12) Don't try to touch a shark if you see one. You are NOT the shark whisperer!
13) If you have followed rules 1-12, but still find yourself being attacked by a shark, then "Do whatever it takes to get away!" Some people have successfully escaped an attack by being aggressive, other passive, some yelled, and others blew bubbles, regardless of your action of choice, DO ANYTHING! Personally, I would go down fighting - all is fair in love and war.