Sunshine, white, soft sand and emerald colored water. But have you ever thought of what might be hiding just inches from your tempting body?
No, we don´t intend to scare you off from a swim in the Gulf. To be honest, To be honest, you really don´t have to worry much. But you should be aware that you might – might – get hurt by some creepy crawlers or hungry hunters. You will not die, but they might cause you some nasty pain.
We will not deny it, there are sharks in the waters, especially on the
western shore of Pinellas. Yours truly captured a live shark using only his hands, right nearby at De Soto Beach earlier this year. I was out there up to my hips in the water and I saw the fin slowly coming towards me and inside my head I could hear; “donk-donk, donk-donk, donk-donk-donkdonk…”. Well, you know the feeling…
So I thought, “what the h…” and grabbed the monster by the fin and lifted. The “monster” was a baby shark, only 2 feet long. And it was a sand shark that doesn´t attack people anyway. And obviously it was astray and confused. After 10 Japanese people had taken photos of me and the shark I took it out to deeper water and waved good bye. Just call me The Shark Man of Waterside North…
- Florida had 23 shark attacks last year and 27 in 2012.
- About a third of Florida’s shark attacks happen in August and
September. Of more than 620 shark attacks in Florida over a
long period of time, at least 187, or 30 percent, happened in
August and September.
- There have been five shark attacks so far this year in Brevard
County (on the east side) and 17 attacks statewide, which puts
us on pace for a usual year.
- Since 1882, Brevard has had 119 confirmed shark attacks, with
one fatality in 1934, a young boy in the Melbourne Beach area.
Only neighboring Volusia has had more shark attacks in that
132-year period — 262, none fatal.
Moral of the story, don’t leave idyllic St Pete for the shores of
Did you know that the risk of being bitten by a shark is one in a million? More than 20,000,000 people visit our public beaches of east Florida and the Gulf coast each year. Florida averages about 20 shark bites per year. As a comparison, every year 3.000 people are killed in car crashes in Florida. Every Year. Three thousand! So don´t worry about sharks. But in August and September, avoid swimming too far out from the beach.
There is, however, another critter lurking that might cause you a problem – Sting Rays. First, a Sting Ray is a very peaceful animal – it never attacks humans. It sits there, on the sand at the bottom of the water, swims away and nibbles shrimp and the like. But if you step on it, it swings its tail up with this nasty barb and bang! – you have a wound somewhere in your lower leg, foot or ankle. You absolutely will not die from the venom, but it will hurt terribly for a couple of hours. Trick: drag your feet when going out in the water because the sound will make the Sting Ray dash away.
If you would like to read more about what you should fear and what you can forget about, download THE BEACH SURVIVAL GUIDE, written by David McRae. It contains everything you wanted to know (and some things you did not want to know…) about Sharks, Jellyfish, Stingrays, Rip Currents and whatever nasty things you may encounter in the blue water…
David is a native Gulf coast resident and still lives in the area. He is the BEACH HUNTER, and on his home page you can find lots of interesting information as well as publications you can buy. This is his homepage:
This is, by far, the best insurance you can get to avoid most issues on the beaches, in the waters of the Gulf Coast. And it is free!