Thursday, August 19, 2004
What Would You Do: Swimming With Sharks
We've all seen the movie jaws. And we've all heard of people being attacked in the ocean. But what would you do if you were caught swimming with a shark? Here's 7's Charles Perez with some valuable tips.
(WSVN) -- It happened in Hawaii to a thirteen-year-old surfing star. It happened in Daytona to a college student
wakeboarding in the ocean.
Shark attack victim Aaron Edelson: "I started screaming to everybody, shark attack, shark attack! Everybody was thinking at first that I had seen a shark, that I just spotted on. They're just like 'oh you saw a shark?' I'm like no, I didn't see it, it bit me! I've been attacked!"
And it can happen here in South Florida. Just check out this school of sharks caught lurking directly off the coast.
But in reality.. shark attacks are rare... Very rare... Occurring approximately 75 times a year.
Miami Seaquarium's Chris Leplant: "In most cases any animal shouldn't attack you unless you provoke it in some manner or another."
Chris Leplant should know. He swims with sharks every day at the Miami Seaquarium.
Chris Leplant: "I do. If I see one out in the wild, I do see them from time to time, I do get excited when I see them. But I do leave them alone I don't do anything crazy."
That's because Chris has found most shark attacks are brought on by human.. not shark behavior.Chris Leplant: "Well most of the time it is human error really. A lot of times we will put ourselves in the same environment as a shark and we do things that actually entice them."
One common mistake..swimming in the water where someone is fishing.
The smell of the bait or chum actually attracts sharks...So does spear fishing.
Chris Leplant: "Obviously if the fish is stressed or injured it is going to put out that frequency in the water."
Not to mention, a shark can smell one drop of blood in a million drops of water.
Chris: "They can sense it very well. They can sense it from a couple of miles away."
But another common mistake here in South Florida involves a very common shark.
Chris: "A lot of times people swim down and see nurse sharks which are a very popular sharks in South Florida."
Because the nurse sharks move slowly and often sit still on the bottom, people actually consider them tame.
Chris: "Believe it or not they will actually try to pet them or pull their tale. In some cases, they will even try to ride on their back. These sharks, just in self defense, will turn around and bite you just defending themselves."
Keep in mind nurse sharks are the number one bite injury in Florida.
So if you are swimming or spear fishing...It's a good idea to keep moving.
Chris: "The more you stay in one spot the more agitation you are creating the more curious a shark is going to be to come over."
And if it starts to come over, swim, get out of the way, and get out of the water.
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