Watch for the fins! Shark sightings on the rise in SC
Thu, 08 May 2014 23:32:32 GMT —
Warm ocean water not only brings more people to the beach, but also more sharks.
"Fish that sharks feed on are in the surf zone because of the warm waters, so the sharks typically move in to feed," said Dean Cain, regional Biologist with the State Department of Natural Resources.
More shark sightings will occur throughout the summer, but Cain says not to worry. If you see a shark, he says you should, "Move off slowly, don't splash, typically don't wear bright colors or jewelry which may flash," said Cain.
Cain says you're likely to see blacktip and sandbar sharks near the shore. They typically range from three to four and a half feet.
Cain says shark bite are uncommon, but they do occasionally happen.
"If they do bite, generally and typically they always back off and realize they made a mistake, so it's not an attack," Cain said.
According to the International Shark Attack File since 1837 there have been five shark bites in Georgetown County and 28 bites in Horry County.
The Florida Museum of Natural History records two deaths from shark bites in South Carolina; the last death was in 1852.
Hunter Baker, 22, has lived in South Carolina his whole life. He says goes to the beach just about every day and explains why he's not too worried about sharks.
"I think it's the sharks reacting to us being in their environment. They're just swimming out there trying to get food on their own and we're out there really encroaching in their place. I don't think they're inherently dangerous, but they can be," said Baker.
So if you see a shark, no matter the size, Cain says respect it and back away slowly.
"Enjoy the beach, don't worry about the sharks. You're much more likely to get struck by lightning than you are ever to be bitten by a shark," said Cain.
To avoid sharks, don't swim at dusk or dawn and never near a pier. If you do go swimming, make sure you're with a large group of people.
The two deaths recorded in South Carolina were both off the coast of Charleston County.