What Are the Odds of Being Attacked by a Shark?

What Are the Odds of Being Attacked by a Shark?
If you’re looking for the odds of being attacked by a shark during your lifetime, you’ve come to the right spot. We’ve built this guide to equip you with everything you need to know about the topic, including ways you can reduce your chance of getting attacked.

In our guide about the odds of being attacked by a shark, we’ll touch on many different facets of the topic. Below, there’s an accounting of all the different sections of this guide. Keep scrolling below to start reading the entire page or click on one of the section titles if you’d prefer to jump ahead to one of them now.

Overall Odds of a Fatal Shark Attack

To get things rolling, we first wanted to focus on your statistical odds of being attacked and killed by a shark during your lifetime. As you’ll see from the figure below, there’s a relatively small chance of it ever happening to you.

Odds of a Fatal Shark Attack

Ways to Reduce Your Chances of a Shark Attack

Even with the odds relatively low that you’ll end up being attacked by a shark, you might be interested in working to reduce your chances of it happening altogether. Below, we’ve included lots of helpful tips and guidelines you can use to reduce your odds of a shark attack.

Stay out of the Water

Man on BeachThe most effective way for you to reduce the likelihood of a shark attack is to stay out of the water. Since sharks live in the water, they can’t attack you if you don’t set foot in it. If you’re anxious about getting attacked by a shark, this is the #1 way to keep it from happening.

Hands Off

Shark and DiverOne of the best ways to reduce your odds of a shark attack is not to attempt to touch it if you come across one. Instead, it’s best to just observe and keep a close eye on it.

Don’t Swim Alone

Swimming With OthersWhenever possible, it’s best to ensure you’re swimming in a group. According to The Florida Museum, most sharks attack when folks are swimming on their own.

Increase Alertness on Sandbars and Drop Offs

HammerheadIf you’re spending time near a sandbar or steep drop off, you’ll want to remain more alert for potential sharks in the area. Both areas are places where sharks are known to frequent.

Keep Pets out of the Water

Dog Out of WaterHaving pets around you may make it more likely for you or your pet to get attacked by sharks. Often, pets in the water will splash and bring attention to themselves and anyone near them.

Reduce Your Splashing

Woman Relaxing in OceanWhen you’re in the water, it’s best if you keep your splashing to a minimum. Sharks are attracted to splashing as it often signals an injured animal.

Don’t Swim at Night

Ocean at NightTo help reduce your odds of a shark attack, make sure you’re not swimming at night. During the nighttime, sharks tend to be more active. Therefore, make it a goal to stay out of the water from dusk until dawn.

Don’t Get in the Water If You’re Bleeding

Cut on LegOne of the things sharks can do really well is detect blood in the water. If you’ve got any form of cut or injury that’s actively bleeding, it’s best to avoid getting in the water if you’d like to keep your chances of a shark attack low.

Consider Contrast

Bikini and Flip FlopsWith sharks, they can see apparent contrasts between colors. Because of this, you’ll want to be careful of any significant contrast you might be putting off. One way to do this is to avoid wearing bright bathing suits when you’re swimming. Secondly, be careful with strong tan lines, as these too can create a potential draw for the shark.

Leave Your Jewelry at Home

Jewelry Something else you can do to reduce your likelihood of a shark attack is not to enter the water with any jewelry on. The reasoning behind this is your jewelry can reflect light in the water, making it look like a fish’s scales. If that happens, it’s more likely you might deal with a shark attack.

Avoid Tainted Waters

Tainted WatersNot sure why you’d want to swim in these waters in the first place, but just in case, it’s a good idea not to swim in water containing sewage. Contaminated water can increase baitfish to the area, thus bringing in the increased possibility of sharks being in the area.

Avoid Fishing

Fishing BoatIf you notice the area you’re thinking about swimming in is being actively fished, it’s a good idea to avoid being in the water to help reduce your chances of getting attacked by a shark. Similarly, if you notice lots of baitfish in the water, you’ll also want to stay out of it. Both fishing and baitfish can attract more sharks who are on the hunt into the area. One way to know if there are many baitfish in the area is to look and see if any seabirds are diving.

Use a Sharkbanz

SharkbanzSomething newer to the market is a product called Sharkbanz. With this band, you’re able to help deter sharks which may end up near you while you’re in the water. Check out the video below to get a better idea of the science behind this great invention!

Things More Likely to Happen to You Than a Fatal Shark Attack

Now that you’ve got an idea of the odds of being attacked and killed by a shark, we wanted to help put it into perspective for you. Below, you’ll find some other things which are more likely to occur to you than dealing with a shark attack.

  • Struck by Lightning
    Getting Struck by Lightning
    1 in 2,000,000

  • Medal
    Winning an Olympic Gold Medal
    1 in 662,000

  • Conjoined Twins
    Having Conjoined Twins
    1 in 200,000

  • Oscar
    Winning an Oscar
    1 in 11,500

  • Movie Star
    Becoming a Movie Star
    1 in 1,500,000

Animals More Likely to Attack You Than a Shark

As you can see, the odds of being attacked by a shark are relatively low. While you might be worried about a shark attack, there are actually many other animals more likely to kill you than a shark. Check out the info below to get an idea of other animals you might want to be cautious around.

  • Cows, Horses, Other Mammals – 655 Deaths
  • Hornets, Wasps, Bees – 590 Deaths
  • Dogs – 250 Deaths
  • Insects – 148 Deaths
  • Snakes, Lizards – 136 Deaths
  • Venomous Spiders – 70 Deaths
  • Crocodiles, Alligators – 9 Deaths
  • Sharks – 8 Deaths

Top 20 Countries With the Most Shark Attacks

Up next, we wanted to provide you with access to a list of the top 20 countries with the most shark stacks. In the chart below, you’ll find the confirmed number of shark attacks by country since 1850. Check this list out to see if your home country made the list or not.

  1. USA – 1441
  2. Australia – 642
  3. Republic of South Africa – 255
  4. Brazil – 107
  5. New Zealand – 52
  6. Papua New Guinea – 48
  7. Mascarence Islands – 46
  8. Mexico – 40
  9. Bahama Islands – 29
  10. Iran – 23
  11. Fiji Islands – 22
  12. Egypt – 22
  13. New Caledonia – 15
  14. Japan – 15
  15. Greece – 15
  16. India – 14
  17. Italy – 13
  18. Hong Kong – 13
  19. Ecuador – 12
  20. Cuba – 12

As you can see, the United States and Australia lead the world by quite a significant amount when it comes to confirmed shark attacks. After those two countries, things quickly fall off quite a bit. Something to keep in mind is both Australia and the United States both have a significant amount of coastline when compared to many others on the list.

If you’re interested in seeing other countries with confirmed shark attacks, check out the heat map below from The Florida Museum. This map shows all confirmed shark attacks since 1850. The larger the size of the grey circle, the more shark attacks the country has had. To view an interactive map, click here.

Beaches With the Most Shark Attacks

Now that you’ve got an idea of the countries with the most shark attacks, we wanted to get a bit more granular. In this section, we’re going to provide you with access to a list of beaches around the world with the most significant number of confirmed shark attacks. These are beaches where you’ll probably want to avoid getting in the water if you’re looking to reduce your odds of being attacked by a shark.

Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida

Ponce de Leon Inlet, FloridaLocated on the east coast of Florida, Ponce de Leon inlet saw a total of 23 shark attacks in 2008. While high, all of the individuals attacked were lucky enough to survive.

Second Beach, South Africa

Second Beach, South AfricaIf you’ve ever watched shark week, then you’re probably familiar with the large population of great white sharks off the coast of South Africa. Second Beach has seen a consistent amount of shark attacks in recent years. Unfortunately, many of them are fatal, having earned the beach the title of the world’s deadliest beach.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

New Smyrna Beach, FloridaConsidered the shark bite attack capital of the world, New Smyrna Beach has more shark attacks than any other beach around the globe. In total, more than 235 shark attacks have occurred in this beach on the east coast of Florida. The type of shark most associated with attacks here is the bull shark.

Solana Beach, California

Solana Beach, CaliforniaLocated in southern California, Solana Beach is a picturesque beach town near San Diego. However, it’s also a hotbed for shark attacks. Since 1900, more than 140 shark attacks have occurred in Solana Beach.

Hawaii

Hawaii BeachWhile many folks think about the tropical beauty of Hawaii, many don’t realize the dangers of sharks in the waters surrounding the islands there. In total, more than 125 shark attacks have occurred in Hawaii. Luckily, only 10 of them have been fatal.

New South Wales, Australia

New South Wales, AustraliaOver this long stretch of beach in Australia, there’s been a long association with shark attacks. In total, more than 170 shark attacks have been recorded in New South Wales, with over 60 of them having been fatal.

Common Activities Associated With Shark Attacks

If you’re wondering what individuals were doing at the time of a shark attack, we’ve got you covered. In the chart below, you’ll find 2018 data from the Florida Museum, showcasing the activity of victims when a shark attacked them.

Surf Board

Surfing
53%

Swimming

Swimming
30%

Snorkeling

Snorkeling
6%

Bodysurfing

Body Surfing
3%

Swimming Underwater

Scuba Diving
5%

Wave

Other Activities
3%

As you can see from the chart above, you’re most likely to deal with a shark attack if you’re surfing or swimming in the water. Between those two activities, more than 80% of all shark attacks are accounted for. Therefore, consider not participating in these activities if you’d like to reduce your odds of a shark attack. For us here at BestUSCasinos.org we’ll stick with what we know, the one activity where you can guarantee a shark won’t attack you is real money online gambling.

Odds of a Shark Attack While Surfing

Up next, we also wanted to share the odds of being attacked by a shark while surfing. Much like folks swimming, surfers have an increased chance of shark attack than just the average person. Check out the stat below to see just how likely the odds are of a shark attack if you’re a surfer.

SurferAs the chart in the common activities section above showed, folks who are surfing or doing some other board sport are more likely to be attacked by a shark than any other activity in the water. The reason behind this is because individuals surfing are often mistaken as other animals by sharks. Due to the splashing and distorted look caused by the board and the appendages, people can sometimes look like seals and other animals when viewed from the bottom up.

In 2015, Surfer Magazine set out to calculate the estimated odds of a surfer being involved in a fatal shark attack. After crunching the numbers and analyzing different inputs, they came up with the stat below. As you can see, surfers have a much higher chance of getting killed by a shark than the overall general population.

Odds of a surfer being killed by a shark

Top 10 Shark Species Most Likely to Attack

Something else many individuals wonder about is the types of sharks most likely to attack someone. To help answer this question, we’ve included a chart below with data from the Florida Museum. In this chart, you’ll find an accounting of the top 10 shark species most likely to attack a human based on available data.

Common Name Non-Fatal Fatal Total % of All
White Shark 274 52 326 39.4%
Tiger Shark 95 34 129 15.6%
Bull Shark 91 25 116 14.0%
Blacktip Shark 41 0 41 5.0%
Requiem Shark 36 1 37 4.5%
Sand Tiger Shark 35 0 35 4.2%
Wobbegong Shark 17 0 17 2.1%
Spinner Shark 16 0 16 1.9%
Bronze Whaler Shark 14 1 15 1.8%
Oceanic Whitetip Shark 12 3 15 1.8%

The chart is sorted by the total number of attacks. However, you can also see a breakdown of the fatal amount of attacks and the non-fatal ones on a species basis. As you can see, the white shark is by far the most likely shark to attack humans, accounting for nearly 40% of all attacks. Collectively, the 10 species included in the chart above account for more than 90% of all shark attacks around the globe.

One thing worth noting before we move on is the data above should be taken with a grain of salt. As the Florida Museum pointed out on their website, it can sometimes be tough to identify the shark involved in an attack. Therefore, the data above isn’t perfect, as some sharks involved in attacks may have been improperly identified.

What to Do If You’re Attacked by a Shark

While you’re here, we figured we’d also equip you with some information about what you should do if a shark does attack you. Check out the tips below and remember them should you ever find yourself in this unlikely predicament.

Don’t PanicDon’t Panic: If a shark is near you, but has not attacked yet, do your best not to panic. By panicking, you’re more likely to splash erratically and attract more of their attention, increasing your odds of a shark attack.

EyeMaintain Eye Contact: Since sharks are ambush predators, they’re less likely to attack you if you’re keeping eye contact with them while they’re close. Attempt to maintain eye contain with the shark for as long as possible if you can’t escape.

SecurityProtect Your Back: For divers, try backing yourself up against something like a submerged boat or coral reef. By doing this, the shark only has one way to come at you as opposed to many. Here, your back is protected, and you can maintain a good view of the shark threatening attack.

Punching HandFight Back: If an attack occurs, immediately fight back. In short, do anything you can to fight back against the shark.

  • Punch
  • Kick
  • Poke
  • Claw
  • Yell

Eyes and GillsFocus on the Eyes and Gills: These are some of the shark’s most sensitive areas and normally your best chance against a shark. Do everything you can to strike or jab them in these parts of their body if you end up being attacked by a shark.

HarpoonWeaponize Anything: If you have anything with you, use it to turn it into a weapon. For example, you can use things like snorkels, diver knives, and even action cameras as weapons during a potential shark attack.

MoveMove Toward Safety: If you’ve survived a shark attack, do your best to slowly move back toward safety. This may be a nearby boat, buoy, or shoreline. Just remember not to move swiftly to reduce your odds of splashing too much.

Frequently Asked Questions

To help begin to conclude things, we also wanted to include some FAQs below about shark attacks. If you still need some answers, we hope these can assist you.

  • Do Growing Populations Impact the Number of Shark Attacks?

    Yes. The Florida Museum has done several data studies showing that as population levels increase, so do shark attacks in that area. The reasoning behind this is, as more people move to a given area, more of them are likely to participate in activities in the water where sharks live. Check out the chart below to see the associated trend lines between shark attacks and the population for the state of Florida to view a sample of the association.

    Florida Sharks vs Population Growth

  • How Many People Are Attacked by Sharks Each Year?

    According to the Florida Museum, roughly 80 people are attacked by a shark each year. The number of individuals attacked each year is steadily rising, along with the increasing world’s populations using the oceans for recreational activity.

  • Do All Shark Species Attack Humans?

    No. As of today, only about 30 different shark species have been tied to attacks on humans. However, there are more than 500 species of sharks around the globe. In turn, it means only about 6% of all shark species have been known to attack humans.

  • Is There Any Sure Way to Prevent From Being Attacked by a Shark?

    Pretty much the only way to ensure you don’t get attacked by a shark is to stay out of waters that contain them. Try activities like hiking, painting, or online poker, to eliminate your chance of being attacked. Unless the idea behind the hit movie Sharknado becomes a reality, you should be safe from a shark attack as long as you’re on land.

Wrap Up

Thanks for checking out our guide about the odds of being attacked by a shark. As you can tell now, there’s a relatively low chance of it happening. However, it’s still a possibility. Be sure to use the suggested tips above to help reduce the likelihood of being attacked by a shark.

If you enjoyed the detailed information of this guide, you might also like some of our other “What Are the Odds?” pages. We’ve included a few of them below if you’d like to check them out. There, you’ll find other topics like your odds of being dealt a royal flush and other poker hands, odds of winning the lottery, and more.