To prevent being bitten by a shark, avoid swimming alone...

To prevent being bitten by a shark, avoid swimming alone and heed the instructions of lifeguards and other personnel monitoring ocean waters for the predators, according to marine experts. Credit: AP/Charles Krupa

There’s no foolproof way of avoiding sharks in the ocean, but here are some tips for mitigating the risk of being bitten, even as the chances are very unlikely to begin with:

  • If you see shark food in the water, such as schools of fish, “you want to get out of the water,” said Greg Metzger, chief field coordinator for the SOFO Shark Research and Education Program. The same goes for spotting dolphins, seagulls or whales, feeding. Sharks might be there too feeding.
  • Going into the water up to the knees reduces the chances that a shark is going to be there too. Being in the water up to the waist further increases the chances. In short, the deeper you go, the greater the chances of sharks.
  • Limit the amount of time in the water. “It’s a numbers game,” said Metzger, and the longer you’re in the water, the greater the likelihood you’re at risk.
  • Heed the instructions of lifeguards and other personnel monitoring the water for sharks
  • Use the buddy system; sharks are more likely to bite someone who is alone.
  • Wearing jewelry that’s shiny can increase one’s chances of encountering a shark, because reflected light could resemble fish scales' sheen.
  • Uneven tanning, clothing with high contrast or that’s bright can make it easier for sharks to see you; they’re good at seeing contrast.
  • Avoid excess splashing: “Sharks can hear the low-frequency sounds from splashing and may investigate to see if there is a fish/prey in distress,” says the Florida Museum of Natural History.
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