If you’re headed to the North Carolina coast, experts say to be extremely cautious of sharks.
The number of shark attacks this year has already broken records.
The National Park Service has issued warnings telling people to stay close to shore and to swim in small groups, never alone.
But there are other things we can do to stay safe while at the beach.
One animal keeper at Oglebay Park’s Good Zoo says you don’t have to change your plans, just change a few of your habits.
If you’re headed to the beach, Troy Quick says to leave your jewelery–and your yellow swimsuit–at home.
“A lot of times, the color yellow has a strong correlation with shark bite,” says Quick. “But more importantly, flashy jewelry can look just like glittering fish scales to a shark.”
Scanning the waves for a shark won’t do much good either.
You may see an occasional fin, but sharks breathe underwater and don’t come up much.
But he says if you see a large number of dolphins or shore birds such has sea gulls gathering in one place, there’s likely to be sharks beneath.
“Dolphins and birds are going to be feeding on the same things that the sharks do,” explains Quick.”So if you see congregations of those animals in particular, avoid swimming and just enjoy watching the birds and dolphins from the beach.”
Ten shark bites in the Carolinas alone are prompting some people to think twice about a beach vacation.
“I remember when you used to hear about a shark bite like every other year or something and I would try not to let it affect the way I enjoyed the ocean,” says Donna Fenton of Williamstown, West Virginia. “But ten shark bites does make you take some pause.”
“I wouldn’t be so inclined to get in the water,” said Tim Weston of Youngstown, Ohio. “But I would definitely go to the beach, and encourage others to go to the beach. It’s a beautiful place.”
The latest bite victim got away without losing any limbs.
68-year-old Andrew Costello fought the shark, and Troy Quick says that’s the right thing to do.
“You can not over-do it,” says Quick. “Sharks are lazy predators. They don’t like things that fight back. So in the exceptional event that you would get yourself in trouble with a shark, fight like crazy.”
He also says stay out of the ocean at dawn, dusk and nighttime.
Stay away from piers and docks.
Pay attention to the life guards.
And don’t ever swim at an unguarded beach.