harks are an interesting species, and the feature of many fictional characters, toys, and movies. While their fictional counterparts are loved, real sharks are often misunderstood and feared; especially along the WA coast. Even though shark encounters are fairly rare, here are SMART tips to reduce the risk of you swimming into a real-life Bruce* this summer:
Search sharksmart.com.au before heading to the beach
Stay informed on the latest sightings and beach closures in your area
Make sure you swim between the flags
Or at least stay close to shore, and avoid deep channels or areas with steep drop-offs nearby
Avoid hazardous waters
Never swim in places where human or animal waste enters the water. Also, avoid disposing of fish waste near swimming spots, and don’t remain in the water with bleeding wounds.
Recognise the danger signs
Keep away from large schools of fish, seals, or wildlife behaving erratically
Take a mate with you
Shark FACT OR FICTION
- There’s shark weather FICTION
There’s no proof that any time of day, or weather conditions (like cloudy days) makes it more likely you’ll see a shark
- Sharks are coming closer to shore because they’re running out of food FICTION
There’s no evidence to support this. Research has shown that white shark movements off the WA coast are mostly uncoordinated; limiting the general predictions of when human encounters will be likely.
- There’s a way I can check for shark sightings before I head off to the beach FACT
Check the latest reported sighting information and tagged shark detections on the Sharksmart Shark Activity Map. Surf Life Saving WA also has a live twitter feed giving you the latest shark info including beach closures.
- Beach Enclosures are used in WA FACT
The WA Government has funded beach enclosures at five locations. Beach enclosures are designed to prevent sharks moving into enclosed swimming areas – different from shark nets, which are designed to trap them.
*Thanks to Finding Nemo for that one