Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

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Be Shark Smart – always!

In Hawaii, there have been nine incidents with shark last year. In Réunion, there have been several fatalities. South Africa sees regular interactions with swimmers, surfers and sharks. So does Western Australia. Most of these encounters occur during natural migration seasons. Whenever sharks and people meet, there are possibilities for interaction. The more swimmers and surfers (so called ‘recreational water users’) the bigger the chance.

Sharks can come close to shore. Picture: Peter Verhoog, Dutch Shark Society


People sometimes chose to go swimming and surfing in areas, where sharks are regularly sighted. We can chose to go into the water, and we can also chose to be Shark Smart. If you follow these simple rules, the chances that you have a damaging encounter with a shark can be greatly reduced.


1. Do not swim alone, and look for assistance.

2. Sharks come closer to shore during dusk and dawn, the times when they naturally feed

3. Do not go into the water with wounds. Do not urinate in the water. Sharks can smell body fluids. Do not swim at spots where boats empty their onboard toilets!

4. Do not wear contrasting clothing or shiny jewellery. Sharks can  distinguish bright patterns.

5. Do not swim near river mouths, steep drop-offs near sewage pipes, shoals of fish, harbors & marinas and fishing people or fishing vessels

6. Splashing is attractive to sharks. It signals distress and activity and for an animal with poor eyesight, is a fairly helpful sign that there is something worth checking out.

7. Leave the water when sharks are present or sighted earlier


Never ignore warning signs!

8. Avoid murky waters, some shark species use bad visibility to camouflage themselves from their prey

9. Avoid swimming near dolphins and turtles, they can be the prey of large sharks

10. Do not tow speared fish behind you, do not swim near spearfishing people

11. Follow the advice of life guards

12. Sharks are attracted to cloudier, stormier conditions, including just after the rain.

13. Avoid wearing fins. If you wear them, avoid such colors as white, silver, yellow or bright ones


A great white shark close to shore in South Africa / credit unknown

If you see a shark when you are in the water:


1. Keep your eyes on the shark and stay still until the shark is gone. Staying still can reduce your interest to the shark.

2.Try and back against a reef or other obstacle if one is present. This limits the shark’s angles.

3. Exit the water calmly

Remember, we are NOT on the menu, but we can be in the way. Please be shark smart, and avoid that!


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