BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — The summer season brings thousands of people to the beach for fun, family time and endless dips in the ocean but you may need to watch out for a deadly creature or two.
Shark attacks are on the rise across the United States and right here in the South Carolina. According to a shark tracking website, shark bites have gone up at a significant rate with just 31 incidents happening in the U.S. and three of those bites happened in South Carolina.
As more people visit the beach, it is more common to be accidentally bitten by a shark than attacked due to mistaken identity. These creatures migrate through the ocean this time of year and people tend to be in or around the areas sharks get access to their food supply.
It is important to watch out for large populations of fish, jumping fish, and bird diving in the water because one may be lurking nearby. and, if you do encounter one it is best not to panic.
Kimberly Ritchie, Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina Beaufort says it is best to poke one of their sensitive areas.
“They are very sensitive around their eyes, their gills, their snout, so you could with very little effort make them go away by poking their eyes, their gills, their snout,” Ritchie said.
She also said it’s important to be mindful while out in the ocean.
“I wouldn’t be worried, what I would be is observant,” Ritchie said. “Really watch for those signs of bait fish, don’t go in the water if the fish are diving or if the smaller fish are jumping, cause that, you’re putting yourself in the middle of the food chain.”
If you want to practice good ocean safety it is best to be in the water with a friend during daylight hours.