Shark Encounter Information

What are the chances of a shark encounter?
The chances of a shark encounter are very small compared to other animal encounter, natural disasters and ocean-side dangers. Most shark attacks are simply due to mistaken identity. Worldwide there is an average of 50-70 shark attacks every year. With a U.S. population of about 300 million, the odds of being attacked by a shark in the United States are roughly 1 in 10 million.

Where do shark encounters usually occur?
Most encounters occur in or near shore waters, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks feed and can become trapped at low tide. Areas with steep drop-offs are also likely sites for an encounter. Sharks congregate there because their natural food items also congregate in these areas.

How can I avoid a shark encounter?
The Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF) offers safety guidance and resources for reducing your risk of a shark bite.

Are sharks dangerous?
Of the over 375 different species of sharks found in the world's oceans, only about 30 have been reported to ever attack a human. Of these, only about a dozen should be considered particularly dangerous when encountered. The shark species responsible for most unprovoked attacks on humans are the white, tiger, and bull. However, all sharks, large and small, are predators and could be capable of inflicting wounds if provoked. They should all be treated with respect when encountered.

For additional information about Florida shark encounters, refer to the Florida Museum.