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Take the Safe Shark Waters Pledge

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Everyone should understand the truth about sharks when swimming in the ocean. These animals deserve our respect, not fear.


Each year, only about 100 unprovoked shark attacks are reported around the world.

There is a one in 3,748,067 chance you could be attacked and killed by a shark1.

There are more than 465 known species of sharks, ranging in size from the 7-inch spined pygmy shark to the 50-foot-long whale shark2. Many of these cartilaginous swimmers eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, plankton, krill, marine mammals, and other shark. Humans aren't typically on the menu3.

According to the Florida Panhandle's Interactive Shark Data, there is simply no evidence that sharks hunt people. And when a shark does attack a human, the shark is either confused or curious4.

"The risk is almost non-existent," Florida Panhandle4 reports. "Although humans kill approximately 100 million sharks annually, sharks kill as few as five humans each year. Humans have a higher chance of being killed by a flying champagne cork, accidental poisoning, or lightning. In addition, the chances of being injured by a shark while swimming in the ocean is far smaller than being injured by a power tool."

Sharks have played an important role in all ocean ecosystems for eons. Sharks and their relatives were the first vertebrate predators. Their hunting skill and strength has developed over millions of years of evolution, and keeps marine ecosystems in balance5.

Instead of fearing sharks, we can learn more about these magnificent fish, and heed the warnings related to swimming in shark waters. Here are some shark facts from Florida Panhandle's Interactive Shark Data that may surprise you:

  • In the last 20 years, more shark attacks occurred on Saturdays than on other days of the week.
  • Tiger Sharks, Great White Sharks, Bull Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks and Sand Sharks attacked most frequently of the known attacks in the last 20 years.
  • In the last 20 years, morning is the time of day when most attacks occurred.
  • 99% of all shark attacks were unprovoked in the last 20 years.
  • In the last 20 years, more shark attacks happened in July than in any other month.
  • The USA, Australia, and Africa had the most shark attacks in the last 20 years.
  • Fatality rates are higher for shark attack victims in Africa and France over the last 20 years.
  • Each year, worldwide, there are approximately 10 deaths attributed to shark attacks (in comparison to 150 deaths worldwide caused by falling coconuts)6.
  • You have a one in 218 chance of dying from a fall but a one in 3.7 million chance of being killed by a shark7.
  • The most common place to be attacked by a shark in the US is Florida. (Hawaii, California and South Carolina are in the top 4)
  • You have an 89.4% chance of surviving a shark attack.

When you do make plans to swim in the ocean, always follow local laws and look for further guidance from any officials, lifeguards, and experts. Heeding these warnings can help keep you safe and lower the shark attack numbers.

You can keep others safe, too, Sign the Safe Shark Waters Pledge and share these facts with your friends and family!

More on this issue:

  1. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic (27 June 2019), "Why are we afraid of sharks? There's a scientific explanation.."
  2. Reference, (30 March 2020) "What Do Sharks Look Like?."
  3. Justin Kovach, fisher science education, "10 Fun Facts about Sharks."
  4. FloridaPanhandle.com (2022),"Sharks: Interactive Shark Attack Map, Statistics And Survival Guides."
  5. The Ocean Portal Team, Smithsonian (April 2018), "Sharks."
  6. Barry Tobin, Australian Institute of Marine Science, "Sharks."
  7. NGC Europe Limited, National Geographic (2018), "Human Shark Bait."
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The Pledge:

As an advocate for harmony between our planet's wildlife and humankind, I hereby take the Safe Shark Waters Pledge.

I pledge to spread the truth about shark attacks with my friends and family, online and off, making sure to explain how rare shark attacks are, and why.

I pledge to always follow local laws and look for further guidance from any officials, lifeguards, and experts when I make plans to swim in the ocean.

The fact is, many of the more than 465 known species of sharks are cartilaginous swimmers that eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, plankton, krill, marine mammals, and other shark. Humans aren't typically on the menu, and there is simply no evidence that sharks hunt people. And when a shark does attack a human, the shark is either confused or curious.

To help clear up confusion around shark attacks, I pledge to share one ore more of the following facts with my network:

  • In the last 20 years, more shark attacks occurred on Saturdays than on other days of the week.
  • Tiger Sharks, Great White Sharks, Bull Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks and Sand Sharks attacked most frequently of the known attacks in the last 20 years.
  • In the last 20 years, morning is the time of day when most attacks occurred.
  • 99% of all shark attacks were unprovoked in the last 20 years.
  • In the last 20 years, more shark attacks happened in July than in any other month.
  • The USA, Australia, and Africa had the most shark attacks in the last 20 years.
  • Fatality rates are higher for shark attack victims in Africa and France over the last 20 years.
  • Each year, worldwide, there are approximately 10 deaths attributed to shark attacks (in comparison to 150 deaths worldwide caused by falling coconuts).
  • You have a one in 218 chance of dying from a fall but a one in 3.7 million chance of being killed by a shark.
  • The most common place to be attacked by a shark in the US is Florida. (Hawaii, California and South Carolina are in the top 4)
  • You have an 89.4% chance of surviving a shark attack.

Sharks are magnificent creatures that deserve our respect, and I pledge to give them that respect by sharing what I learn about sharks with others.

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