A video of almost a dozen sharks, taken Memorial Day weekend in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, was posted by Steve Anest. Anest and his wife were paddle boarding at the time, and he had brought his camera with him to record his wife on her paddle board. Anest received the shock of his life when he noticed a dark shadow in the water, followed by more shadows. Suddenly, he realized he was looking at close to a dozen sharks. It was a scary sight, since he and his wife were only waist deep in water. Dozens of swimmers nearby had not yet noticed the sharks, and many had flocked to the beach on the weekend holiday.
Anest was surprised by the sharks, but perhaps should not have been, as there was a shark attack a month prior injuring a 25-year-old man who was bitten on the foot. Two weeks prior to that, two boys were also attacked. New Smyrna Beach is actually ranked number one for shark attacks, according to the world’s top five countdown. Many locals refer to it as the shark bite capital of the world, and with good reason, it seems. Last year alone there were seven shark attacks and with this year’s three attacks, swimmers need to be aware of their surroundings.
If the video posted by Anest is anything to go by, it does not look like shark season will end anytime soon for New Smyrna Beach. According to experts, the area of New Smyrna Beach is a common feeding ground for sharks. Many locals find the thrill of swimming near sharks enticing rather than disconcerting. Some witnesses, though, claim they do not want to think about the sharks while swimming.
There are several ways to help prevent attacks, such as carrying shark repellent. It is similar to the smell of the sharks’ dead, which acts as a sensory repellent. Also, avoiding the water after heavy rains is a good idea, as a downpour tends to move the sharks into waters it may not normally frequent. Make sure to avoid touching fish in the water, because some sharks are roughly the size of tropical fish. Pay attention to the swimming patterns of fish. If they are avoiding a certain area, there is a high chance sharks or other deadly marine life may be around. Refrain from swimming near docked boats as sharks frequent this area for easy prey. If ever in doubt, simply stay out of the water.
As the video posted over Memorial Day weekend shows almost a dozen sharks, it would behoove many to avoid New Smyrna Beach all together. It is a breeding ground for sharks. A shark’s sense of sight and vibration have a lot to do with why they may attack. Keep in mind that in Florida there have only been three deaths between 1994 to 2004. According to some, it is estimated for one to be more likely killed by a tornado than a shark bite. As the summer progresses, however, it is best to be aware while swimming or enjoying other activities involving the ocean.
By Heather Tillman