* Shark attacks along the entire coastline of the Florida beaches averages only about 20 in the whole year, although there were 32 reported in Florida during 2007.
* The majority of shark attacks on Florida beaches occur over on the Atlantic Ocean side in Volusia County. (Daytona Beach and New Symrna Beach are big surfing destinations over there.)
* Most shark attacks occur between sandbars. It is not real smart to swim out past the first sandbar on each beach you visit. There is usually a big drop off on the other side and this is where sharks feed.
* Mathematicians figure you have about a one in a million chance of being bitten by a shark while swimming along the Florida beaches. (You probably have a better chance of being pooped on by a pelican.)
Shark facts to prevent shark attacks on Florida beaches
There are several things you can do to help you feel more safe swimming in the ocean during your Florida beach vacation.
* Do not enter the water if bleeding from a large open wound or if menstruating.
* Don't wear shiny jewelry in the water because the reflected light looks like the sheen of fish scales to a shark. (I knew there was a reason you never see gang-bangers on a Florida beach vacation.)
* Don't swim at night. It is best to get out before twilight. This is when sharks feed. You do not have to be out on the sandbar to experience a beautiful Florida sunset. (That's why we have beach bars.) This shark fact should be pretty evident.
* If you see lots of fish (like mullet or baitfish) swimming and jumping out of the water, that usually means a bigger predator is in the area looking to make a meal out of them. Get out of the water until they pass.
* if you notice a lot of seabirds diving to feed, that means there is plenty of food available...and a real big fish will be attracted to this activity.
* Don't swim or surf near the jetty's of passes (openings from the ocean back into a bay) like Blind Pass or Johns Pass. The water runs real fast in those openings...and carries lots of food for sharks to eat.
* Don't stand out in the water and throw food (like chicken) up to the seabirds. Sharks love food they don't have to work for. This is really stupid. (Do I really need to include this as a shark fact?)
* Stick near others when out in the water. Sharks stay away from lots of activity.
* Don't swim out past the first sandbar.
* Don't stand and fish in water off the beach. There are plenty of piers, docks and jettys to fish from. I have a real problem with people who fish on Florida beaches where people swim, anyways. They deserve to be bait for a shark. Have you ever seen a cute 7-year old girl with a fish hook in her foot? End of discussion.
A few final shark facts
Bull sharks are the predators most prevalent in waters off our Florida beaches.
They are big, territorial and aggressive.
They are responsible for almost all Florida shark attacks. Many scientists see it as the most dangerous shark in the world.
They grow to about 11 feet long and live between 12-18 years.
Note: They like to feast on stingrays and seabirds. Keep that one in mind.
Although shark attacks are extremely rare on Florida beaches, this doesn't mean you should go brain-dead when in the water on your Florida beach vacation. You can be vigilant with these shark facts, but you don't have to be paralyzed with fear.