A Florida man ignored lifeguards’ directives to evacuate the water due to shark sighting, and caught the attention of cruising sharks.
Earlier this week Cocoa Beach, Florida, lifeguards got swimmers out of the water and announced a No Swimming warning after spotting 5-foot long blacktip sharks cruising the area.
One man using a metal detector defied the warning and waded knee-deep into the water to continue beach treasure hunting. He caught the attention of the sharks who repeatedly approached him.
The Brevard Times reported that the man used his beach scoop to ward off the sharks’ advances, although in the video he alternately seems to be completely unaware of the shark cruising towards him.
This is the second time in less than a week that Cocoa Beach lifeguards have ordered an evacuation due to shark activity.
Sharks attacks have been in the news frequently in recent weeks, with beaches in Florida and North Carolina leading the pack. So far this summer, seven attacks have been reported in North Carolina and eleven in Florida.
According to the 2014 International Shark Attack File (ISAF), Brevard County, where Cocoa Beach is located, had the second most shark attacks in Florida with eight. Volusia County had the most, with ten attacks. Overall, Florida was responsible for over half of all shark attacks reported in the U.S., with 28.
While most shark bites are not serious and can be treated directly on the spot, last month a 10-year old boy was severely bitten by a young bull shark at Cocoa Beach and had to be flown to a trauma center.
Marine conservationist Jim Abernathy offers these bullet points of advice to people entering the ocean where sharks have been reported:
- Avoid areas where animal, human or fish waste enter the water. Sewage attracts baitfish, which in turn attract sharks
- Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and night
- Avoid murky waters
- Don’t wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry
- Try not to splash so much when you’re in the water. Sharks are attracted to activity and if bait fish are in the area, a person’s risk goes up
George Burgess, Florida Museum of Natural History Director of the ISAF made a cogent point when he said, “Many people do not think of going into the ocean as a wilderness experience. They think going into the ocean is like jumping in the backyard pool. The ocean is the wilderness, and we are not guaranteed 100 percent safety when we enter. It is up to us to modify our behavior and avoid having a negative encounter.”