Experts urge caution during mullet run, after man is bitten by shark on Palm Beach

PALM BEACH, Fla. - The beach is the place Richard Inniss goes to escape.

However, it’s also the very place he was trying to escape from last Wednesday. 

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Inniss was out surfing last Wednesday morning. 

“Clear sky just like this, but it was still murky in the water,” he says.

As he swam back to shore, he says an object that felt like a car hit him from behind.

It was no car.

“I turned around and I saw a shark on my foot and my board,” Inniss says. “He shook me back and forth. I guess he realized I wasn’t a fish and he let me go.”

The shark had already left it’s mark. 

“A 2-inch cut in my skin. Thank god he didn’t hit any bones or arteries.”

Experts at the Florida Oceanographic Society say Richard’s situation shows around this time of year you have to be extra careful when you hit the water. 

“Keep an eye on what’s in the water so you can get out in time,” says Mark Perry, executive director of the society. 

What’s in the water now, millions of mullet in the middle of their migration. 

However, the impressive sight also brings hungry sharks.

“If you see this very dark, huge mass of bait fish coming down the coast, you should immediately get out of the water,” Perry says. 

He says you should also avoid getting in the water at dawn and dusk, as those are peak times for sharks feeding. 

Murky waters, caused by a combinations of recent storms and and runoff from local waterways, are also a problem. 

You can’t see what’s below the surface, and they can’t see you. 

“They’ll mistake you or your leg or something for probably a bait fish,” Perry says.  

So as Richard takes an unexpected break from the water for a few weeks, his message for fellow surfers and swimmers - be careful. 

“It looks peaceful, but it can be so deadly,” he says. 

After all, Richard says the sharks were there first.  

“It’s their world, not ours. We just have to learn how to be one with it more than anything.”

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