At around 5 p.m. last Saturday, Dale Carr was bodyboarding with his friend, Shane De Roiste, at Lighthouse Beach, south of Port Macquarie, when he was attacked by a shark, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Carr reportedly suffered severe injuries to his back, thigh and buttock, but managed to fight off the shark (believed to be a Great White) before De Roiste dragged him to the shore. The father of two detailed the harrowing experience on Facebook, in which he thanked all those who’d helped to save his life.
“The fact that there were random acts of kindness displayed by everyone on the beach that day who were passerby, others who had no obligation to assist is the real story. 2.5 litres blood loss and quick thinking doctors, nurses, paramedics doing what they could. Thats the real story [sic],” Carr wrote.
Being attacked by a shark is unlikely, but there are several things you can do to decrease your chances of becoming a victim and increase your chances of survival.
1. Don’t wear anything shiny
Experts have revealed that swimmers should not wear jewellery or anything shiny that reflects sunlight, as a shark could mistake this for fish scales.
According to Dr. Mark Meekan, a research scientist and fish biologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Perth, we’re actually not all that appealing to sharks.
“We’re like eating lettuce so we’re actually not a good target as [shark] food,” he told ABC News Australia. “More often than not [in an attack] it’s a case of mistaken identity.”
2. Avoid bright bathing suits
According to the Daily Mail, brightly coloured clothing and sunburn can also attract sharks because they see in black and white and use contrast to distinguish colour — the high contrast is especially visible to sharks.
3. Swim when the weather conditions are good
If the water is dark or murky, this makes it harder for the shark to differentiate between a human and its normal prey. It also decreases your visibility, making it difficult to see if a shark is approaching you. Thus, it’s best to avoid swimming at night and at dawn and dusk when sharks are more active.
“Don’t go into the water early, at dawn or dusk when there is low visibility and sharks might mistake you for prey,” Dr. Meekan says.
4. Stay close to shore
Most sharks that are big enough to pose a threat to humans are found further out to sea. To reduce the risk of attack, stay in the shallow waters.
5. Stay in groups
Swim or surf in groups and in patrolled areas, so if something does go wrong, there are people who can potentially help you.
6. Use your common sense
And above all, use common sense and avoid places that sharks are known to congregate, like sandbars or river mouths. Also stay away from people spear-fishing or cleaning fish guts, and do not swim if there is sewage in the water.
John West of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia told Australian Geographic that, “The best prevention is common-sense related to where you swim and what activities you undertake whilst in the water, and be aware of what may invite or provoke an attack.”