You may have seen news reports about increased shark attacks this summer. If you’re taking a family vacation to the beach in the coming weeks, and you’re worried about letting your children swim in the ocean, check this advice from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Service before you go:
1. Don’t go alone in the water. People swimming by themselves are more at risk.
2. Stay out of the water at high-risk hours. Sharks feed during the pre-dawn and twilight hours, so avoid swimming and being mistaken for food.
3. Check for scrapes and cuts before entering the water. Sharks can detect the scent of blood from far away.
4. Take off the bling. Sharks perceive shiny jewelry and clothes the same way they perceive fish scales that glisten in the water. You don’t want to look like a shark’s main source of food.
5. Visit designated beaches. Every shore is not appropriate for swimming. If you see diving seabirds or bait fishes, there is most likely feeding activity in that area.
6. Don’t let your pets in the water. Their erratic movements can be mistaken for bait fish.
7. Be careful around sandbars and steep drop-offs. These are popular spots for sharks.
8. Swim when lifeguards are present. They are trained to deal with water related emergencies.
9. Do not enter the water if sharks have been spotted — just don’t.
For more information, you also can visit Kids.gov, USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, the U.S. Government’s official websites in English and Spanish, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons