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Shark safety tips for beach goers

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

As the summer weather increases, so do the number of beach goers trying to escape the heat by enjoying different fun water activities. Beach goers typically take longer vacations, stay at timeshares and are more likely to bring their children along versus air travelers. With this in mind, it is important for all household members to be aware of shark safety tips.
Where 2022 was one of the lowest numbers of shark attacks this decade, there continues to be some common factors that can put you at risk if you are not aware of shark safeguards. Most shark attacks occur when a shark mistakes a human for a seal or other marine life animal. So, it’s important to know the warning signs to avoid looking like a tasty snack in the ocean or gulf. Below are a few shark safety tips:
• Avoid swimming at dusk or dawn, or after a heavy rain because these are the times when sharks are more active and visibility is low.
• Avoid entering the water or swimming near fishing piers, where sharks are attracted to the bait.
• Swim, surf, or paddle in groups, as most shark attacks target a solo person.
• Stay close to the shore in case you need help, but also know that sharks often hunt in shallow water; so, stay aware and take precautions.
• If you see small fish schooling and jumping out of the water, a shark may be nearby.
• Do not swim near seals or large schools of fish.
• Keep dogs out of the water.
• Sharks are attracted to mouths of rivers, channels, deep drops and areas between sandbars; avoid these areas.
• Don’t make yourself ultra-visible. Scientists with the International Shark Attack File discourage swimmers from wearing shiny jewelry (which can resemble fish scales), entering murky water, wearing bright-colored clothing, or show off tan lines.
• Try to avoid erratic movements, flailing, or splashing.
• Watch for blue or purple flags, which indicate sharks, jellyfish or other dangerous marine life.
• Always listen to lifeguards and heed all signs.
These, along with other key water safety tips, should be shared with your family so as to encourage everyone to Keep an Eye on Safety while enjoying water activities.