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While shark attacks in Palm Beach haven’t been an issue in the last decade, a recent explosion in shark migration is to blame in 2021. According to the Florida Atlantic University, thousands of sharks have been sighted off Palm Beach County.
Blacktip sharks and spinner sharks are continuing their annual migration from February through April in massive numbers. These sharks are currently migrating through Palm Beach County near Miami. The reason for this has been blamed recently, due to the warming of coastal waters.
This area of coastal water spans between Boca Raton to Juniper and has seen an increase in water temperature along the coastline. It’s now averaging 1.5 degrees higher than the previous 10 years. This temperature increase has also prevented them from moving north because their food supply is sticking closer to these coastal waters.
While Blacktip and spinner sharks are typically very shy, their greater numbers near shorelines have seen a record increase in shark attacks. These shark attacks in Florida are also part of a growing problem due to its tourism. Since March of 2021, the COVID-19 restriction lifts have seen an increase in tourists returning to this coastal hotspot.
This area recently saw another surge of record crowds during this year’s Spring Break. Sadly the number of shark attacks also increased due to the number of people visiting beaches during this time. A total of 3 non-fatal shark bites have been reported in South Florida in 2021, compared to a total of 8 attacks that happened in 2020.
This season is thankfully lower, but safety experts aren’t taking any chances as the weather grows warmer. As the food source of these sharks begins to dwindle, they will be more attracted to shoreline activity. This means that people in the water may unknowingly be attracting unwanted attention from hungry and curious sharks.
What to do to avoid being bitten
These migrating sharks will commonly swim no more than 150-300 yards from the beachside, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. These are common rules that will help you to avoid being bitten by a shark.
· Stay in groups
It’s fine to go into the water but nothing outside the typical safety you can expect from being within the break wave line. This makes it easier to get out of the water a lot faster than after that initial break wave.
· Avoid wearing shiny jewelry
Many people like wearing jewelry at the beach which reflects light underneath the water. Wrist bracelets, anklets, and even reflective gemstone rings will attract the attention of a shark who can mistake this for food.
· Avoid wearing high contrast colored swimwear
The fashion at the beach these days includes swimwear that is trendy and highly colorful. Sadly these high contrast colors including yellow, orange, and red will be more attractive to sharks. Darker tones like blue, green, and black are better choices.
· Avoid coastal water at dusk and dawn
Never go swimming at night, since there are fewer people to help you if you do get bitten. The rapid blood loss and the potential to pass out often result in drowning, even in shallow water. This is why you should swim after dark.
· No excessive splashing
Sharks are very keen on vibrations in the water and have special sensors for motion at the surface. This will signal to them there is a food source nearby that attracts them to your location.