What should you do if you encounter a shark?

In this week’s episode of Hawaii Five-0, Danno (Scott Caan) tells McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) to punch it in the snout. The two experience a boat highjacking and near shark attack within minutes of their supposedly relaxing fishing excursion. But luckily, McGarrett (the “danger magnet,” as Danno teases in this scene) escapes the shark by swimming to the safety of their slowly-deflating raft.

Was Danno correct in his method to fighting off a shark? Or was it a potential recipe for McGarrett becoming – as quoted from the episode – a tasty “sushi man” dish?

According to the National Geographic, the victim should strike the shark’s most sensitive areas (snout, eyes or gills) with an object, but if that’s not available, with their hands or feet. Whatever they do, they shouldn’t “play dead.” If none of the above works and the victim ends up getting bit, then they should leave the water immediately and focus on stopping the bleeding. National Geographic warns, “While many sharks will not bite again, you cannot rule out a second attack.”

Although threat of a shark attack may be small, it’s still very much real. Keep these tips in mind next time your swimming in the ocean:

  • Look for warning signs – Lifeguards post signs on the beach when sharks have been sighted.
  • Avoid river mouths and channels – It’s common for freshwater fish to get swept out to sea after heavy rains; therefore, attracting hungry sharks.
  • Avoid swimming at night and at dawn Although these are often when the ocean conditions are best, it’s also a popular feeding and hunting time for sharks.The poor visibility makes it easier for a shark to mistaken you as its meal. Eek!
  • Avoid wearing bright, shiny colors – Shiny jewelry closely resembles fish scales.
  • Stay away from dead animals, fishing, sewage – The blood, fish bait and trash attract sharks. You don’t want to be near that during feeding time.
  • Stay out if you’re bleeding – The scent of blood could potentially attract sharks within a one-mile radius. So if you get cut or you’re a female who’s menstruating, stay on the beach.

Source: National Geographic

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