*** CLAIRE’S SHARK PREVENTION GUIDE ***
1. Do not use barbecue- or human-scented suntan lotion.
2. Do spray yourself with the threatening scent of a predator of a shark (for example, larger sharks)
3. Never be the farthest swimmer from shore. Always get someone else to swim out farther.
4. Sharks are afraid of lightning and thunder. The best time to take a swim is during a violent electrical storm.
5. If you have the choice between walking on your hands or on your feet while in the ocean, choose your feet. It’s good strategy to not have your head bitten off first.
6. Do not bring too many inflatable sharks into the ocean. It will make it difficult to identify the true sharks, which are the real threat.
7. Some sharks mainly eat fish. Relax around those kinds.
8. Some people think it’s smart to bring a few spare juicy steaks into the ocean during a swim (when shark swoops in, people stuff shark mouth with steaks in hopes of filling stomach/quelling appetite), but studies show that in reality, ploy could backfire, with sharks mistaking human arms for extensions of steaks.
9. Do not look like a seal. Sharks routinely mistake boogie board bottoms for seals, especially if limbs are hanging over, looking like seal fins. Even the so-called professionals have this one on their list along with: Avoid shiny reflective jewelry (resembles shiny fish scales); avoid uneven tans or tan lines (sharks are intrigued by contrasts); avoid swimming with bloody jellyfish attack wounds (sharks possess phenomenal olfactory senses and are enthralled by blood).
10. Refrain from excessive splashing, thus simulating an injured fish (easy prey). Do not romp or frolic in the waves, especially on holidays. A placid, stationary position in the water is recommended.
11. If you think you see the triangular dorsal fin of a large shark circling in shallow waters, do not hesitate to enter the water for a swim. It’s probably just a sunfish.
12. With shark punching bag, practice aiming at shark nose and sensitive eyes and NOT shark’s three rows of teeth.
14. Sharks like to eat dolphins. Try to keep a dolphin between you and the shark at all times. (or elephant seal if on West Coast, or walrus if in Asia)
15. Remember: Very few parts of the shark pose any danger at all to you. Stay near the safe parts.
16. Do not swim in shark aquariums unless a friend or lifeguard has promised to watch you the entire time (Safety first).
17. As carnivores, sharks are capable of ripping off thick strips of fatty body tissue. Don’t have thick strips of fatty blubber on you.
18. Sharks rarely attack creatures that are clearly larger than themselves (except by mistake). If you are dealing with an 11-foot shark, make sure you are 11 feet tall.
19. If the shark is 3 inches long, you may lose a limb, but your chances for survival are tremendous.
20. Dolphin sightings are useful in that they confirm either the presence or the absence of sharks in the vicinity. Keep an eye on the dolphins.
21. Wear shark repellant. Lone swimmers may still be targeted. But if you are in a group, the shark will surely pick one of your friends instead. The problem with shark repellant is that it rapidly disperses in water so you need to re-apply it every 5 minutes. Also, if you’ve got one drop of blood on you, you’re still toast. Fortunately, stickier and more foul-smelling repellants are being developed and scientists are seeking people like you to test them out in shark tanks.
22. Strike first. Inflict a large, potentially fatal bite to underbelly of shark before he has any idea what is happening.
23. Finally, and I hesitate to reveal this shark-control option to you as it is known only to Navy divers and infiltrators of top Navy secrets, but, there are air-shooting guns that can pierce the shark abdomen, and release gobs of air, causing the shark to float straight to surface level while you lie safely on the ocean floor five feet below. Also recommended are noisemakers that produce sounds at pitches unbearable to sharks. Unfortunately, pitches that are loathed by some shark species are adored by others.
There are many different kinds of sharks, but my least favorites are the killer sharks. In general, these sharks can be rated on a scale from 1 to 5.
3- nasty (bull sharks)
4 – very nasty (tiger sharks)
5 – very, very nasty (Great White)
1. – low self-esteem (Great White with no teeth)
2 – homely (hammerhead)
2.5 – gossipy (megamouth shark)
Even the lower-rated sharks are extremely dangerous. Stay away from all of them; play with none.
If you are not sure what kind of shark just bit you, show your leg to a professional shark-species bite identifier.
Quiz Question: Why do sharks attack more men than women worldwide at a 9 to 1 ratio?
a. Men get into more arguments with sharks
b. Men are cuter and tastier
c. Men tend to swim out farther, away from the group
Quiz Question: What did this person do wrong?
a. the person provoked the shark
b. the person reacted wrongly to a shark’s presence, thus causing her own demise
c. the person brought her ferocious children into the sea, thus causing an undue threat and calamity in the peaceful waters
d. humans are intruders in the natural habitat of marine life; humans are killers
e. all of the above
Answer: e (source: International Shark Attack File, which courageously aims to double the shark population and halve the human population - I mean educate the human population - by 2020; this group is the official record keeper of total “unprovoked” shark attacks worldwide. As it turns out, most attacks are properly classified as “provoked” or “non-attacks” or “unknown: the victim is dead and can’t tell us” or “bitten by shark-like creature such as a whale, exotic gator, sea lion, sea monster, or any number of things.”
Quiz Question: According to some shark advocacy groups, what might be one benefit of a vicious shark attack on a human?
a. Leads to valuable research on limb wounds/shark dentistry/evolution of shark jaw
b. Leads to groundbreaking advancements in the field of shark behavioral psychology
c. Can be used to generate articles on how rare shark attacks are
d. Can be used to shape articles on the desperate need for more federal funds for shark-stocking programs
The guidelines I have outlined above have not been scientifically verified, and in some cases, are highly disputed, but they are something to consider. Some of the above instructions should not be followed at all, except in very rare circumstances. I encourage each and every one of you to research the danger of sharks in encyclopedias, library books, and marine biologist research papers before heading to the beach.
If you would like more information on how to protect yourself, you can also check out the official shark guidelines by the so-called professionals: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/08/0804_040804_shark_attack.html
I encourage you to swim with the group, to avoid swimming out too deep, and to keep a constant eye out for dark slippery shadows in the sea. Shark repellants such as copper sulphate and vinegar-related chemicals derived from dead sharks are being tested and have been confirmed as partial deterrents. Do not swim at dawn or in twilight hours, when sharks go hunting.
If a swimmer is already being attacked, remember that strong and repeated punches to the shark’s nose and eyes have been known to chase away sharks in many cases (3 out of 4). The greater the number of strong bodies that come to the rescue, the more likely the shark will flee. There is still a chance the shark will attack you if you try to rescue a victim, but if this happens, odds are: you will go to heaven. (Bible: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends” (John 13:15)
If you have already been bitten, get to shore immediately and put extreme and constant pressure on the wound while waiting for the ambulance. The amount of blood you conserve will directly determine whether you live.
Do not weary shiny metal jewelry. When sun hits, it resembles the sheen of tasty fish scales reflecting the sun. Do not wear bright colorful bathing suits (or contrasting ones, such black and white stripes). Do not make a raucous commotion in the water.
Just as important for beachgoers, leave immediately if a thunderstorm is approaching. Lightning zaps people on the beach every single year, and is responsible for even more deaths than sharks.
If you are caught in a rip current (where water keeps pushing you away from shore), do not keep attempting to swim straight to the beach (many have tried and have died of exhaustion). Not even Olympic swimmers can beat the pressure of the ocean. Do swim parallel to the beach for as long as you have to (until the current weakens); then swim to shore.
Do not enter the ocean if you cannot swim. Even if you are standing waist deep, there is the danger a rip current will pull you farther and farther out to sea.
When boating, enforce a strict life vest policy for all aboard. Do not insist, “I don’t need one. I’m an excellent swimmer!” These have been the last words of many of boater who got hit by the boom, fell overboard unconscious with a head injury, and drowned. They have also been the last words of boaters who got slammed by a drunk teenager in an oncoming boat, hit their head, and, unconscious, fell overboard and drowned.
And, for heaven’s sake, wear a hat on the beach. Get a beach umbrella. Wear lotion of a high SPF. Each and every isolated sunburn you accumulate gets you one step closer to a deadly cancer. Finally, if you think it’s amusing to bury your whole body in the sand with just your head poking out, think again. Sand, by nature, will continue to fill in every gap of space around you until there is no way you can breathe. Many a fatality has resulted.
And don’t forget to go to church on vacation.