Sharks Surprise Tourists in Shallow Waters At Florida Beach, How To Avoid A Shark Attack
Beachgoers on Florida’s Okaloosa Island were treated to an unexpected sight Monday afternoon. Several sharks were spotted swimming in the shallow waters just off the coast, and one tourist caught it all on video.
Stephanie Stevens Adcock, a tourist from Texarkana, Arkansas, was on the beach with her family at around 3 p.m. Monday when she said seven sharks appeared in the shallows. Each of them was roughly five to seven feet long and two appeared to be fighting.
Adcock posted a video of three of the sharks to her Facebook on Tuesday. In the footage, beachgoers can be seen wading towards the sharks for a closer look. By Wednesday afternoon the video had garnered 2.8 million views.
“My son’s friend was snorkeling way out there and we were yelling for him to come in,” Adcock told the Northwest Florida Daily News. “Everyone else had made it out of the water and he was unaware of what was going on! My husband ran out there to help him.”
Adcock reported that the predators were about two feet from the shore and stayed there for around 10 minutes. She called the situation “amazing to witness.” It is unclear what species of sharks they were, though some believe they were either bull or reef sharks.
Shark sightings are quite common in Florida. Out of the 81 unprovoked shark attacks occurring in the United States in 2016, 32 of them were in Sunshine State, according to the International Shark Attack File. In recent years, shark sightings have become more common in other areas as well. According to experts, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a popular vacation destination, is expected to see upwards to 150 great white sharks lurking in the water this summer.
“They have multiplied in numbers exponentially since I became chief,” Orleans fire chief Anthony Pike told the Boston Herald Monday. “Great white sharks comprise about 30 percent of my daily work right now and I never, ever thought that would be a thing.”
In addition to Florida and Cape Cod, Southern California has also seen an increased presence of sharks in recent days. Experts see the increase of shark sightings as a sign that conservation efforts are working.
“I attribute a lot of that to better conservation,” marine biologist Dr. Chris Lowe told CBS News in May. “We protected white sharks 20 years ago in California. Their food source has come back and in many ways, our coastal oceans are getting healthier”.
Experts say that most shark attacks are a case of “mistaken identity,” where a shark misidentifies a human as prey. The increased presence of sharks means a greater likelihood of human and shark interactions and swimmers must take extra precautions to protect themselves from shark attacks. Swimmers are advised to not swim near seals and to stay out of the water at dusk as that is when sharks hunt. Swimmers are also advised to avoid wearing glittering objects as they can be mistaken for fish scales.