Great White Shark Attacks Are We Safe in Our Oceans

Great White Shark attacks and tips on how to stay safe when you enter our oceans

If you swim, surf or otherwise play in the oceans of our world then surely you have feared a shark attack. One of the most feared is a Great White Shark Attack. This magnificent creature has swam in our oceans since the age of the dinosaurs. Growing to be 20 or more feet in length and weighing in at over 5000 pounds this animal is one who should be feared.

But lets ask ourselves if we indeed need fear him while just playing in our local oceans. The official name of the Great White Shark is Carcharodon carcharias, named by Andrew Smith in 1938. Like all sharks our beloved Great White is merely cartilage like that found in the human nose. These sharks are called Apex Predators meaning that they have no natural predators in the wild, except for man.

The natural food for the Great White Shark is fish, squid, other sharks, dolphins, whales and seals to name a few. Great White's like other sharks have a marvelous sense of smell and can sense electrical fields from other animals. Looking at a Great White you will see that they do however, have nostril openings, these do not smell the same as the nostrils we use. They are strictly used to smell prey. It has always been believed that the Great White has an extremely long lifespan however, it has been discovered that most found and examined were in the range of 14 to 20 years old.

There have been Great White Shark attacks around the globe. In 1985 Shirley Durdin lost her life in Peake Bay, Australia while snorkeling in 7 feet or less of water. The shark who attacked her was a Great White estimated to be 20 feet long.

In 1916 during a 12 day span of time five men were attacked off the shores in New Jersey, Charles Vansant was 50 feet off shore, Charles Bruder lost both feed approximately 400 feed from shore, Lester Stillwell, Stanley Fisher with the final attack being the only survivor of the shark frenzy. It was not believed that these attacks were all done by the same shark nor was it reported as a Great White shark attack, but was presumed to be a Mako Shark due to the fact that one of these attacks was in freshwater and it has never been reported that a Great White has come into fresh water to attack.

There is a section of ocean along California that stretches 100 miles from Bodega Bay in San Francisco to Ano Nuevo Island in Santa Cruz. This triangular shaped area has been researched by scientists tracking shark attacks and found to be the worlds leading area of Great White attacks. One such attack was in 1981 when Lewis Boren and his friends were surfing, Lewis was attacked while on his 5 foot fiberglass surfboard. They estimated this attacking shark to be 18 to 20 feet long.

According to NOAA Fisheries Fact Sheet, sharks do not hunt humans. They believe that when a shark attacks, even a Great White Shark it is mistaken identity. They believe that the shark, no matter the kind, mistakes the humans as a food source. They tell us that the majority of shark attacks are what they refer to as "hit and run" attacks by smaller sharks such as the Blacktip and Spinner sharks. The size of the Great White Shark makes this hit and run more dangerous to the human body because they have a larger more powerful bite radius and when bitten by a Great White the damage is unmistakably more difficult to recover from.

Reported attacks by Great White sharks against inanimate objects such as boats, according to the Shark Research Committee are worthy of mention. Reported from Australia, Japan, South Africa and the United States, to mention a few, these attacks on marine vessels are noted clear back to 1865. One case they mention is from 1953 off the coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. John Burns and John MacLeod were lobster harvesters, the boat that they were in had a white hull. They reported that day after day the boat was followed by a Great White. After days of this the Great White shark attacked smashing a hole into the side of the boat. It is reported that neither man was bitten by the shark, Burns drowned and McLeod was rescued. The evidence that this was an actual shark attack was found in the hull of the boat because the shark left behid a tooth fragment.

The NOAA state that more people are killed in other ways then by shark attacks. The best defense against shark attack is education and precautions. They suggest that; when you swim, swim in groups as sharks are less likely to attack in this setting. They also recommend that you not wander too far from shore, avoid being in the water in early morning or during darkness or twilight as sharks are more actively looking for food at these times of day. Don't wear shining objects as they appear to sharks as a fish would when the light reflects off of them. Do not go in the ocean water if you have an open bleeding wound. Sharks apparently see contrast and they suggest you not wear bright colored clothing when swimming in the ocean. Avoid the sandbars and steep drop offs, as apparently the sharks like to hang out in these areas along the shore. Most importantly do not enter the water if there has been shark sightings or attacks in the area.

Research into these magnificent creatures continues and we have many suggestions on how to keep yourself and friends safe from a Great White Shark attack but, there is no concrete proof as to why a shark attacks. There is much speculation into why a shark attacks a human however, we cannot say for certain that they mistake us for seals or fish. Sharks, no matter the type, cannot tell us what provokes them into attacking so the best advice to anyone, who is a lover of the Oceans of our world, is that you learn how to avoid being attacked by the Great White or any other type of shark. Learn what precautions to take, what the waters are like where you will be entering the ocean, and most importantly put these suggested precautions into action when you get ready to visit the beach.