Despite the public's fears of shark attacks, especially with the number of attacks in movies, sharks are more threatened by humans than we are by them. According to the International Shark Attack File, there were 12 deaths from unprovoked shark attacks around the world last year. File director George Burgess points out in a statement, "We're killing 30 [million] to 70 million sharks per year in fisheries -- who's killing who?"
For one man who was attacked by a shark, the incident didn't stop him from fighting to protect sharks and the oceans they inhabit. Mike Coots, who lost a leg to a shark in Hawaii in 1997, has since become an ambassador for the Pew Environment Group. Coots told HuffPost, “I love the ocean so much; I feel compelled to do something."
Check out the Shark Spy camera for the chance to get close to sharks without having to rely on these tips.
Below, find 25 tips for avoiding a shark attack. Photos and tips courtesy of Discovery. Check out more tips for staying safe around sharks by clicking here.
25. Steer clear of dolphins and seabirds. They may not only attract sharks, but also often seek the same prey. <em>(<a href="http://dsc.discovery.com/sharks/25-ways-to-avoid-a-shark-attack.html" target="_hplink">List courtesy of Discovery</a>.)</em>
24. Carry shark repellent, which drives sharks off by mimicking the smell of their own dead or by co-opting the chemical signals with which they communicate.
23. Skip swimming after heavy rains, which may move some freshwater fish, including sharks, into areas they would not otherwise frequent.
22. Sharks sometimes get stuck in lagoons and small bays during low tide, so be careful when swimming in such areas at these times.
21. Is there a dead animal floating nearby? Steer clear of it, as a shark might be aiming to make it a meal.
20. Avoid diving from boats but, if you must, refrain from doing so at night and be sure to carefully scan the surrounding water beforehand.
19. Some sharks are very small and resemble tropical fish. Avoid touching fish around you, as you could find your hand in a tiny, yet well-toothed, mouth.
18. Never attempt to feed a shark. Just don't.
17. Pay attention to fish swimming patterns. If fish start to school or dart away, chances are a shark or other potential predator is nearby.
16. Fishing boats and anglers from shore can attract sharks looking for an easy seafood meal, so refrain from swimming near them.
15. The splash of a dog paddling is like a dinner bell for sharks. Do not take your pet with you in waters where there is even a remote chance of encountering a shark.
14. Splashing and other erratic movements signal distress and can alert sharks to your presence. Try to keep strokes and kicks smooth and even.
13. Got an uneven tan? Skip swimming in open water because skin color contrasts, which may resemble color variations found on fish, seem to attract sharks.
12. Brightly colored swimwear, colorful surfboards and shiny jewelry mimic natural fish bling, so save your flashy gear for terrestrial pursuits.
11. Mouths of rivers, channels, deep drops and areas between sandbars tend to attract sharks. Skip swimming in these places.
10. Don't swim too far from shore. It takes you away from assistance that could save you should an attack occur.
9. Avoid swimming in dirty, murky water. It can impair your field of vision and that of sharks, too, increasing the chances of an encounter.
8. If you have a bleeding cut, an exposed wound or are a menstruating woman, do not swim in open water. Blood and human waste attract sharks.
7. Sharks are creatures of habit. Do not swim in areas where a shark attack has recently occurred, since the same shark, or others, may still frequent the spot.
6. Try to swim on sunny, clear days. Foggy mornings and dusk may cause a shark to confuse you with prey.
5. Don't swim in waters known to be frequented by sharks. Consult with lifeguards and other authorities for more specific regional information.
4. Swim in a group, or at least be sure to have a partner with you. Stay alert as to what is going on in the surrounding water environment.
3. Avoid looking like a seal. Reclining on a surfboard and wearing a wetsuit and fins can give you a seal's silhouette from a shark's perspective below.
2. Think like a shark. If you see lots of fish or seals, chances are that sharks could be around and could confuse you with dinner.
1. This should be common sense, but if you see a shark in the water, leave the area immediately. <em>(<a href="http://dsc.discovery.com/sharks/25-ways-to-avoid-a-shark-attack.html" target="_hplink">List courtesy of Discovery</a>.)</em>
Also On HuffPost...
Everybody knows about sharks from the movie Jaws and Shark Week, but sharks are really misunderstood animals that have a lot to be afraid of from us. There are very few shark attacks every year and usually that is just a case of mistaken identity, whereas we kill 300 million sharks a year for their fins.