The shark happens to be one of the most misunderstood creatures on earth. They have been vilified in books, film and television for being what they were made to be. Due to the recent rash of "shark attacks" along the Florida coast there has been a renewed interest in passing legislation to hunt them. Cash is being offered for every dead shark. It is unfortunate that we as a people cannot appreciate that this creature would pose us no threat if we respected him in his element and took the proper precautions to minimize our contact with them. The shark is a finely tuned instrument and it is the animals' heightened sense of sight and response to vibration that spawn most of the attacks. They are merely seeking out their dinner.
One of the best ways to avoid being attacked is not to go into waters that are known to be shark infested. Sharks like to be around sandbars and steep drop off points so it is best to not swim in these areas. Sharks are active mostly during nighttime and twilight, this is when you should avoid being in the surf. If you are bleeding or even if you have an open wound you should not be in the ocean. This will only attract a shark. Brightly colored garments can also present a problem. Sharks are very aware of contrast, uneven tans and bright garments create a stark contrast. If you are in the water stay away from schools of fish, sharks are attracted to these and will undoubtedly mistake you for one of them. It is always best to err on the side of caution when going into the shark's environment.
By the time you notice a shark in the water chances are he has already noticed you. If this is the case the first thing you should do is to attempt to leave the water. You should do this with as little commotion as possible to avoid inciting the shark further. If you are with a group of people gather together and make the group look as big as possible. This just might serve to intimidate the shark and it should go on about its way. If you are indeed attacked the one and only recourse you have is to fight and fight ferociously. The shark, like any other creature, has weak points. By becoming aware of what they are you stand a better chance of survival. The eyes, snout or nose and the gills are some of the most vulnerable points on this big fish. If you cause pain in these areas the shark may release you. Shark attacks are not always fatal but they can leave behind a lot of wreckage. The best defense against a shark is to not put yourself in a situation that will put you in that type of danger.
Finally, get out of the water as quickly as possible, even if you fought the shark off he may just return. If you sustain a bite, find a tourniquet as soon as possible so that the wound does not bleed out. You can survive a shark attack if proper precautions are taken immediately.
Rick Valence specializes in digital camera repair at C.R.I.S. Camera Services in Chandler, AZ. In his spare time, he enjoys scuba diving, blogging about camera repair and traveling to exotic regions around the world.