How To| Survive a Shark Attack

Escape a shark’s jaws of death with these lifesaving strategies.

Step 1: Stay calm
Try to stay calm. You’re unlikely to run into the kind of shark that attacks humans unprovoked — bull sharks, tiger sharks, and great whites. More likely, it will be a smaller species that will give you the once over and go away, as long as it doesn’t feel threatened.

Step 2: Swim smoothly
Begin swimming away, as smoothly and quietly as possible. Splashing around wildly and screaming will only call the shark’s attention to you, and may even incite it to attack.

A shark that hunches its back, drops its fins, swims in a zigzag motion, or dives to the bottom and rubs its belly is displaying agitation — a mood you don’t want to be around.

Step 3: Get your back up
If the shark is approaching you and there’s no time to swim away, try to back up against something to minimize the areas the shark can strike. If you’re with a diving buddy, you’ll both have a better chance to survive if you ascend while pressed together, back to back.

Step 4: Fight back
If the worst happens and the shark begins attacking, try to jab, punch, or kick them in its most sensitive areas — the eyes, nose, and gills. Simply hitting them on the head will probably do more damage to your hand.

Step 5: Help others
If you see someone else being attacked, don’t hesitate to help them. Sharks are less likely to attack a rescuer and more likely to continue attacking the original victim.

Step 6: Take heart
Take heart: you’ll probably never have to use any of this information because your chances of being attacked by a shark are one in 11.5 million.

Did You Know?
In 2007, a group of bottlenose dolphins in Monterey, California rescued a surfer who was being attacked by a great white shark.

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