While in Florida, we stayed in New Smyrna Beach, a nice quiet community south of Daytona, that happens to be the shark attack capital of the world! In 2008, the town set a record of 24 shark bites in a year, and in 2001 the beach had to be closed after 10 bites in 10 days. National Geographic put together a handy list of shark attack facts to help educate about the actual risks, here are a couple of key points
- 93% of shark attacks from 1580 to 2010 worldwide were on males.
- Surfers accounted for 50.8% of all attacks in 2010.
- Since 1907, 201 out of 220 great white attacks have occurred when the human was less than 6 feet from the surface.
- You have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 11 million chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime.
- Over 17,000 people die from falls each year. That’s a 1 in 218 chance over your lifetime, compared to a 1 in 11 million chance of being killed by a shark.
- In 1996, toilets injured 43,000 Americans, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000, room fresheners were responsible for 2,600 injured Americans. Sharks injured 13.
- Only five people die from shark attacks yearly, while millions of people die from starvation.
- For every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately two million sharks.
- New Smyrna Beach is the shark attack capital of the world according to International Shark Attack File. It is estimated that anyone who has swam there has been within 10 feet of a shark (I did not know this fact before swimming at New Smyrna!)
Some of those facts are presented in the following infographic,
From the above facts, it is pretty easy to see that the risk of a shark attack is quite low, yet there seems to be a disproportionate amount of attention paid. I would love to see a news magazine present a story on the “Summer of Falling out of Bed”