How to escape a shark: 3 reflexes to have absolutely

Contrary to what the cult film Teeth of the Sea suggests, sharks, and in particular great white sharks, are creatures generally harmless to humans. Indeed, human beings are not part of their diet. Most of the time, shark attacks are actually accidents. Either the animal felt threatened or mistook the swimmer for a seal. As proof, selfies claim more victims in the world than shark attacks! Either way, if you ever find yourself face to face with a rather pissed off shark, here’s how to react.

Before you discover how to escape a shark, know that there are a few precautions to take so as not to attract these predators: avoid swimming at dawn or dusk, never swim alone far from the shore, do not wear shiny jewelry, which could be mistaken for fish scales, and never swim alone or with fish attached to the belt (notice to underwater fishermen).

Summary

1. Keep your eyes on him

You see it coming right at you, then turn you around and, frankly, you’re not leading off. You know he spotted you and that your presence seems to have annoyed him quite a bit. Or it’s just a hungry shark mistaking you for prey.

In any case, the first thing to do is to keep calm and not take your eyes off him. The rule to follow is to never turn your back on himeven when you try to swim gently back to shore. You need to know at all times where he is in relation to you so that you don’t get caught off guard and be able to react at any time. Indeed, the shark is fearful nature animal who attacks only if he knows he is going to win. However, if he knows he is spotted, there is a good chance that he will give up.

2. Hand him an object

If you see that the shark continues to approach you, take any hard object within your reach (snorkel, mask, fin…) and let it “feel”. Realizing that the object is not edible, the shark should normally go. Some also recommend clapping your hands on the water and screaming to scare it, but it all depends on the degree of nervousness of the shark you have in front of you. It could, on the contrary, excite him …

great White shark
Credit: iStock

Then continue to swim gently towards the beach, without hurrying. A shark will be more likely to attack prey that is fleeing!

3. Hit him

If, despite everything, the shark attacks you, you will have to fight back. Indeed, playing dead is absolutely useless, quite the contrary. Your only chance is to stand with your back to a rock (if possible) and push the shark back by hitting it with an object. Prioritize the nose, the gills and the eyes.

Then run away !!!

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