Are there Sharks on the Outer Banks Beaches?
When considering where to take the family on a summer vacation, many factors should be taken into consideration. Cable news is great consultation for many things, but should not take the place of a travel agent.. If you were consulting cable news before your summer beach vacation on the Outer Banks, you may think that the beaches look like an outtake from the Blu-Ray of the movie Jaws. As we locals know, and as a recent study has confirmed, selfies have led to more injuries and/or deaths in the past year than sharks. This seems hard to believe, but it’s true. The incidence of shark attacks on the Outer Banks, or any other oceanfront vacation destination, are minimal at best. This is not to say that you shouldn’t be vigilant. Here are a few ways to protect you and your family from the unlikely shark sighting at the bar.
Avoid the Bait
Sharks are a predatory animal. This is not news. What may be news to many is that humans are not natural predators of sharks. To steer clear, and stay in the safe zone of sharks, vacationers and locals alike should avoid runoff areas where waste enters the water. Regardless of the type of waste, this carbon rich discharge provides a buffet for smaller fish that are helpless prey for sharks. Avoid the bait for shark food, and you will usually avoid sharks.
If a shark is sighted, regardless of the size or proximity, you should briskly, but calmly, exit the water. Sharks can swim faster than the fastest sprinter, so running and creating a commotion will only attract the attention of the sharks. Again, keep in mind, you are not on their menu.
Rely on Technology
A new product that has been tested to repel sharks has proven 90% effective. Without getting into scientific specifics, an electronic signal is emitted over a nautical distance that keeps sharks at a safe distance from swimmers, while not harming the sharks.
On your Outer Banks vacation, you should enjoy the ocean, with its sights and sounds. But when it comes to vigilant attention, you should be more mindful of sunscreen than sharks. Oh, and leave the selfie sticks at home.
Always stay in groups since sharks are more likely to attack an individual. Do not wander too far from shore, this isolates you and decreases your chance of being rescued.
- Avoid being in the water early in the morning and during darkness or twilight hours when sharks are most active and searching for food.
- Do not enter the water if bleeding.
- Avoid wearing shiny jewelry because the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales.
- Avoid waters being used by sport or commercial fisherman, especially if there are signs of bait fishes or feeding activity. Diving seabirds are good indicators of such action.
- Use extra caution when waters are murky and avoid bright colored clothing – sharks see contrast particularly well. Refrain from excess splashing.
- Exercise caution when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep dropoffs – these are favorite hangouts for sharks.
- Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present and evacuate the water if sharks are seen while there.
- And do not approach a shark if you see one.