Yesterday Maui was abuzz with the news of a bad shark attack. A visitor in her 50s was swimming possibly in murky water off Pa’ia when someone noticed she was in trouble. According to comments on a Maui24/7 post she is missing an arm. She was rushed to hospital in critical condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with her.
How common are shark attacks?
Years ago someone asked a scuba instructor if there are sharks in the water around Maui. He told them, dip your finger in the water and lick it. If it’s salty, there are sharks. Having said that, shark attacks are quite rare. The DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) keeps a tally of reported shark attacks. According to their list, there have been only two attacks for the State of Hawaii in 2022. Plus yesterday’s which hasn’t made the list quite yet.
Seven Shark Safety Tips
Yes, there are sharks in the ocean ~ that’s where they live. While rare, there are some precautions you can take to further reduce the risk of an attack.
- Swim and do water activities in a group. There is safety in numbers, plus then you have people to help should you get in trouble.
- Don’t go in the ocean with open wounds or if you are bleeding. Both will attract sharks, but you could also get a nasty infection.
- Avoid murky water, especially after a storm or earthquake ~ sharks come in closer to shore to hunt in murky water. Also, that run-off causing the murkiness may be contaminated.
- Avoid erratic behavior and excessive splashing, it attracts sharks.
- Sharks are attracted to turtles and dolphins, be aware.
- Some say to stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and at night when some sharks come closer to shore to feed. However, attacks can also occur during the day.
- Stick to beaches patrolled by lifeguards (though do be aware they usually leave around 4pm).
Yes, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis can stir up the ocean and increase the risk of a shark attack. Curious what to do if one of those happens during your Maui vacation? I wrote a blog about just that a few years ago.
Is Sharktober a thing?
According to the DLNR shark attacks are more common October through December which may coincide with tiger shark pupping season. Having said that, best to always be aware of your surroundings. Keep in mind, shark attacks are very rare, especially when considering the 3 million visitors we welcome annually to Maui.