There’s more than fish in the sea

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sharks in North Carolina have bitten three people within the past month, and although shark attacks are still considered rare, practicing basic safety when entering the ocean can be the difference between life and death.

Austin Reed, 19, was attacked at Ocean Isle Beach; Paige Winter, 17, was attacked at Atlantic Beach; and an unnamed 8-year-old boy was attacked at Bald Head Island. Each victim suffered from nonlife-threatening injuries from the attacks, but it’s still essential to remain alert and do what you can to prevent an attack.

  • Do not swim at night, as sharks are more active then, as well as during dusk and dawn.
  • Do not swim while you’re bleeding. Sharks can smell blood a considerable distance away (although the idea that a shark can smell a drop of blood from a mile away is a myth).
  • Do not wear bright swimsuits in the ocean. Sharks have eyes similar to humans and are attracted to color.
  • Be extra aware when swimming in brackish water. Almost all shark attacks are accidents, usually due to poor water visibility.
  • Swim with another person. In Winter’s case, she was swimming with her father, who was able to grab her and punch the shark until it let go.

The rise in shark attacks is in part connected to the rise in temperatures. North Carolina’s coast is warming up, which makes it more habitable for sharks. They are lingering on the coast, and the brackish North Carolina water makes it easy for sharks to confuse humans with prey.

The rise in attacks can also be attributed to the state’s rising tourist industry. More people are visiting and enjoying North Carolina’s beaches, leading to more shark-related accidents.

Although the influx of shark attacks can be alarming, it’s important to remember that the ocean is their home and attacks are uncommon. Beaches can be relaxing vacation spots, and taking proactive steps to prevent an attack can keep your trip injury-free.