American beaches overflow with families every August, just in time for Discovery Channel’s beloved Shark Week programming to scare beach-goers away from the water. But do we really need to worry?
Just last month, 63-year-old surf instructor Barbara Corey was bitten in the ankle at Holden Beach, NC. She sustains serious wounds to her ankle region, but told ABC News that she’ll be back in the ocean the moment they heal. Thankfully, 2013 has not seen a fatal attack in the U.S. yet. The last death occurred in October of last year in Santa Barbara County, CA. Francisco Javier Solorio Jr., 39, was surfing when a great white shark clamped down on his upper torso.
The Washington Post reports that statistics from the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History should be reassuring, despite rising shark spottings in certain areas of the country. More great whites have popped up around Cape Cod in recent years, but Florida still holds first place for most shark attacks in the US.
But don’t fret — in 2000, Americans “faced a 1-in-11.5-million chance of being attacked by a shark, and less than a 1-in-264-million chance of dying from a shark bite,” according to the Post. The newspaper also states, “more Americans were killed by collapsing sinkholes (16) than sharks (11) between 1990 and 2006, and more by tornadoes (125) than sharks (6) in Florida between 1985 and 2010.”
According to experts, take basic precautions: avoid seal-riddled areas and don’t swim during dawn or dusk. Keep in mind that sharks are the least of your worries — instead, keep your eyes open for the occasional dangerous current and enjoy the ocean.