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International Shark Attack File

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Statistics of Shark Attacks on Divers


others

Last updated: March 16, 2011



others


As you can see, in the majority of cases where other people were in the vicinity of a shark attack, the shark did not injure other people. When sharks attack, they focus on one prey item at a time. While humans are not a shark's natural prey item, sharks may mistake a human for prey, thereby treating the human as it would any other prey for a first strike. Sometimes when the shark realizes it has bitten something that is not a part of its normal diet the shark will leave the object of its initial strike alone and go to another area. (See Passes, Bumps, Bites, and Strikes for further information.)
Last updated: March 16, 2011



others


The graph above outlines the importance of diving with other people around. The majority of divers who were attacked did not have a partner when they were diving. It is always safer to dive with a partner, or with someone watching, than to dive alone!
Last updated: June 19, 2013



others


The graph above lists what else is in water around an attack. The majority of attacks occur when nothing but a boat is around a diver. The high number of boats in an area of attack is most likely the cause of divers originally diving off boats, not necessarily because the shark is more likely to attack a person while a boat is around.
Last updated: March 16, 2011



others


The graph above lists what other attractants are in the water around an attack. As in the previous graph, the majority of attacks occur when nothing else is around a diver. Wounded fish juice found in waters around fishing boats have been known to attract sharks. Sharks have a keen sense of smell and may mistake a diver for their own prey.
Last updated: March 16, 2011



others


Many people will try to divert the shark from attacking them. The most effective actions, as listed in the data above, seem to be poking and acting aggressively towards the shark. Probing the eyes or gills is recommended if a shark is attacking someone around you because these are the most sensitive and vulnerable parts of the shark. The single kicking incident was successful.
Last updated: March 16, 2011



© International Shark Attack File
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida