Report: South Carolina ranks third-highest for shark attacks in last decade


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Despite South Carolina ranking third in states with the highest shark attack numbers in the last 10 years, you’re still more likely to be struck by lightning than be attacked a shark, according to a report from safety website SafeWise.

The report, “How to Avoid Becoming Shark Bait – A Decade of Shark Attacks,” coincides with Discovery’s Channel’s popular “Shark Week,” and examines facts, statistics and the history of shark attacks in the United States.

It found that Florida is the state with the highest number of shark attacks between 2007 and 2016 with 244, followed by Hawaii with 65, and then South Carolina with 39.

The chances of being attacked by a shark are 11.5 million to one, the report states, adding that you are more likely to die from the flu, be in a car accident, or be struck by lightning.

There have been just six fatal shark attacks in the last 10 years, compared to 443 non-fatal shark attacks, according to the report. Most victims were surfing or swimming when attacked. Great white, tiger and bull sharks are responsible for most human attacks.

The SafeWise page includes a map showing the specific locations of the attacks, which shows about 10 attacks along the Grand Strand, from North Myrtle Beach down to Pawleys Island. View the map here.

The website offers the following tips to “avoid becoming shark bait”:

  • Swim in a Group: Most sharks attack individuals, as they mistake humans for other ocean creatures.
  • Stay Close to the Shore: If you swim out too far, you’ll isolate yourself, be away from help, and be closer to the shark’s territory.
  • Avoid Swimming in the Ocean at Night: Sharks are most active at night, and you won’t be able to see them approaching in the dark.
  • Don’t Go in the Water if Shark Warnings Are Posted: It may seem like common sense, but if a shark has recently been sighted, don’t enter the water until further notice.
  • Be Careful Near Sandbars and Ocean Drop Offs: Sharks tend to swim in these deeper areas.
  • Don’t Enter the Water with an Open Wound: If you are bleeding from a wound, don’t go in the water as sharks are attracted to blood.
  • Watch for Sea Life: Sharks eat fish, so if they see a school of fish, they’re likely to go for it. Stay away from water plants and animals, as they attract sharks and could endanger you.
  • Use Common Sense: Be alert when swimming in the ocean. You are entering the shark’s territory, so respect the shark and its natural habitat.

The report used data from the Florida Museum’s data on shark attacks, as well as attacks report to the Global Shark attack file from 2007 to 2016.

SafeWise is a website which provides blog posts and report about various safety-related topics, and compares rates, services and reviews of home security companies. The company generates advertising revenue from companies featured in their rankings, according to the website.

View the full SafeWise report on shark attacks in the U.S. here.

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