Shark Week: Avoid getting bitten by a shark in South Florida waters

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Should we be afraid of sharks here in South Florida?  Even if you love the water, there are some actions you can take to lessen your chances of getting bitten.

Related: More stories on sharks

The curator at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium says most shark bites are caused by nurse sharks.

The bites often occur near shore, shallow waters or close to reefs.  
Also, sharks are known to hover near the mouths of rivers where the Intracoastal Waterway meets the ocean. Often there is substantial fish activity in this area, which attracts bull sharks.

“Don't go swimming in sand bars at night where there's drop offs.  Don't go be spear fishing by yourself, surfing by yourself.  There's a lot of ways to avoid even rubbing against a shark in your lifetime," said Rebecca Spearer of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. 

Here’s some more good advice to avoid encountering a shark:   

* Don't go into the water with gashes or blood
* Try not to enter the ocean alone
* Avoid swimming at dusk or dawn because sharks are hunting
* Swim in groups because sharks don't like to approach large groups 
* Don't wear shiny jewelry because it could resemble fish scales
* An uneven tan line can attract sharks because it looks like a dead fish

The aquarium's curator says the chances of being bitten by a shark in Florida is one in 500,000 people. 


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