What to expect with shark attacks this summer

WASHINGTON — This past Memorial Day weekend saw two shark attacks on opposite coasts: in California, a woman training for a half-triathlon was bitten on her upper body while a teenage boy in Florida suffered a bite on his leg.

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But even with these casualties, the National Aquarium‘s General Curator Jack Cover said, “I would say it’s probably something you shouldn’t stay up at night and worry about.

“Your risk of injury is much higher just on your car ride to the shore,” he said.

People are statistically more likely to get struck by lightning than get bitten by a shark, he added.

Still, last year saw a record number of shark bites worldwide — a total of 98 victims with six deaths, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File. The U.S. led the pack with the highest number of attacks: 59. The last time a record was set was in 2000 with 88 worldwide attacks.

So are sharks just getting more aggressive? That’s not necessarily the case. Cover attributed the rise of the attacks to a growing human population that’s spending an increasing amount of recreational time swimming off beaches and a recovering shark population.

There’s no need to knock off beaches from your summer plans. Cover listed simple tips: don’t swim at night or near dawn or dusk and if you start bleeding in the water, get yourself out immediately.

He added, “There’s certainly no gearing up for a ‘Sharknado’ event any time soon.”

March 4, 2024 |
Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

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