Here’s how to escape and survive a shark attack

Sharks, these dreaded predators, often instill fear in many people.

However, shark attacks on humans are relatively rare. According to the International Shark Attack File, there were around 130 unprovoked incidents involving sharks in 2020, including 57 attacks on people.

Nevertheless, it is important to know the measures to take to protect yourself and increase your chances of survival in the event of a shark attack.

This comprehensive article discusses the different strategies to adopt to escape these fearsome predators.

Understanding shark behavior and risk factors

To better understand how to survive a shark attack, it is essential to understand their behavior and the factors that can increase the risk of attack.

Shark Behavior: Sharks are opportunistic predators and may attack when hungry or feeling threatened. Sharks are also curious and may bite to explore their environment. In the majority of cases, shark attacks on humans are misidentifications, as sharks often mistake humans for their usual prey, such as fish or marine mammals.

Risk factors: Several factors can increase the risk of shark attack. Among these, we can mention:

  • Proximity to colonies of fish or marine mammals, which attract sharks in search of food.
  • The presence of trash or fish remains in the water, which can attract sharks.
  • Loud or aggressive human activities, which can disturb sharks and make them more likely to attack.
  • Clothing or accessories in bright, contrasting colors, which may attract the attention of sharks.

Adopt preventive measures to avoid shark attacks

It is possible to reduce the risk of shark attack by adopting certain preventive measures during your nautical activities.

  • Choose the right time and place: Avoid swimming near colonies of fish, marine mammals or seabirds, as these areas are often frequented by sharks. Also, don’t venture too far from shore and avoid swimming at dawn or dusk, as these are the times when the sharks are most active.
  • Avoid flashy clothing and accessories: Opt for neutral colored clothing and equipment, so as not to attract the attention of sharks.
  • Stay in groups: Sharks are more likely to prey on isolated individuals. Swimming in a group therefore reduces the risk of attack.
  • Avoid sudden movements: Quick, jerky movements can attract sharks. Adopt a calm and relaxed attitude in the water and avoid struggling or kicking your feet.

What to do in the event of a confrontation with a shark?

If, despite the precautions taken, you find yourself face to face with a shark, here are the steps to follow to increase your chances of survival.

1. Remain calm: It is crucial to remain calm and not panic in the presence of a shark. The sudden and disorderly movements could indeed incite the shark to attack, when it may not have intended to do so initially. Take a deep breath and try to control your emotions.

2. Maintain eye contact: Always try to keep the shark in sight. Sharks are indeed more prone to attack when they are not observed. By maintaining eye contact, you show the shark that you are aware of its presence and that you are not easy prey.

3. Adopt a defensive posture: If you are near the shore or a boat, try to move towards it slowly, without showing signs of panic. If you are far from any shelter, adopt a defensive posture by placing your arms and legs around your body and trying to make yourself as small as possible, to be less vulnerable to attacks.

4. Use objects to defend yourself: If you have objects at your disposal, such as a diving mask, flippers or a camera, do not hesitate to use them to hold the shark at a distance or to hit it if he gets too close. Sharks are sensitive to blows to the snout, eyes and gills.

How to react in the event of a shark attack?

If, despite all your precautions, you are faced with a shark attack, here are the tips to follow to maximize your chances of survival.

1. Resist: Contrary to popular belief, it is important to defend yourself and not remain passive during a shark attack. Sharks respect strength and stamina, so it’s essential to show the shark that you are not easy prey.

2. Aim for sensitive areas: To repel the shark, focus your blows on the most sensitive areas of its body, namely the muzzle, eyes and gills. A well-placed hit on one of these areas may be enough to scare the shark away.

3. Keep fighting: Even if the situation seems hopeless, it is important not to give up and keep fighting as long as the shark is present. Testimonies from shark attack survivors show that resilience and determination can keep a shark out, even when it’s under attack.

4. Get medical attention quickly: If you’ve been bitten by a shark, it’s crucial to get medical attention as soon as possible. Injuries from shark attacks can be severe and lead to significant bleeding. Do not hesitate to ask for help and alert the emergency services as soon as you are safe.

Although shark attacks are rare, it is important to be informed and know how to react in the event of a confrontation with these fearsome predators. Knowledge of shark behavior and adoption of preventive measures can reduce the risk of attack. In the event of a confrontation or attack, staying calm, adopting a defensive posture and defending yourself by targeting the shark’s sensitive areas are strategies that can increase your chances of survival. Remember that caution is key when doing your water activities, and the best way to survive a shark attack is to do everything possible to avoid it.