Years of portrayal of sharks as killing machines by the media and in movies such Jaws have created a deep seated fear in the minds of most humans towards this mammal. According to experts, if people were to take precautions, their chances of getting attacked would be minimal. NOVA statistics say that every year, only 100 people are attacked by sharks, and out of them, 25 to 30 are killed around the world. However, 30 to 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. Truth of the matter is that, sharks face a far greater risk from humans, who hunt then for their flesh and fins, than we are from them. The oceans are the habitat and territory of this mammal, along with all the other sea creatures. So the best way to keep oneself safe from a shark attack, is to avoid one.
There are certain areas that are known for being shark infested waters. Most of these beaches have warning signs posted by the authorities. One can go a step further and find out if there has been any sightings of sharks in that area, before visiting a beach. Also, certain areas known as shark feeding areas, such as the estuary of a river or creek, and must be avoided.
Avoid entering the water at dawn or dusk. Sharks are more active at this time, and are quite often feeding. They have a unique eye structure that allows them to see in dim light. Also, don't swim in muddy waters or enter the ocean after a heavy rain. Very often, authorities issue warnings about bull sharks, which in particular, are more active in muddy waters.
Another precaution to take is to avoid wearing shiny jewelry or bright-colored clothing. Although most swimwear are brightly colored, to give a swimmer more visibility, it can also attract a shark's attention. They can see contrast very well, and consequently like bright colors. Shiny jewelry glints in the sun and the light reflecting off it resembles the fins of a fish to a shark. The safest way to swim in the ocean is in a large group. Sharks are less likely to strike a group of people.
Another very important measure is to always stay out of the water, if you have an open wound. Sharks can detect one drop of blood, per a million parts seawater. Once they detect a scent, they follow it until they find the source. Don't swim amongst a school of fish, as they could be the shark's meal for the day.
However, if you are in the water and notice a shark swimming around, the first and most logical step to take is, try to get out of the water as quickly and as quietly as possible. However, if the shark is nearby and in all probability has already spotted you, then either gather together (if you are a bunch of people), or try to make yourself look big. This might intimidate the shark, and it may decide against engaging you. In the food chain, size and aggression matters.
Now, the part that makes up our nightmares. If the shark attacks you, fight like hell. Many people have survived a shark attack this way. Sharks are sensitive around the eyes, snout/nose, and gills, so aim for these areas, and kick and punch with all your might. Even if you find yourself bitten by the shark, keep on fighting. This might make the shark release you.
These instructions should come in handy, if you are ever faced with a shark attack. Though easier said than done, the most important factor is to stay calm. Only then will you be able to remember and carry out these steps.