How to Avoid a Shark Attack: Tips and Techniques for a Safe Swim

Know what to do before, during, and after a potential shark encounter to minimise the risk of an attack.

Shark attacks are rare, but they can happen. To minimise the risk of encountering one of these fearsome predators, it’s important to take precautions before getting in the water, know how to react if a shark is nearby, and take steps to defend yourself if you’re being attacked. In this article, we’ll share some tips and techniques to help you avoid a shark attack and enjoy a safe swim.

Before you get in the water:

  •  Swim in designated areas –

Choose beaches with lifeguards and obey any posted signs or flags that warn of shark activity. Avoid swimming in areas where there are a lot of fish or seals, as these are potential prey for sharks.

  • Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk – 

Sharks are most active during these times, so it’s best to avoid swimming during their feeding hours.

  • Don’t wear shiny jewellery or brightly coloured clothing – 

Sharks are attracted to shiny objects and bright colours, which can make you more visible and attractive to them.

  • Leave the water if you see a shark – 

If you see a shark in the water, calmly and slowly make your way back to shore. Don’t panic or make sudden movements, as this can attract the shark’s attention.

If a shark is nearby:

  • Stay calm and don’t panic – 

Sharks are more likely to attack if they feel threatened or if they sense fear.

  •  Maintain eye contact – 

Sharks are more likely to attack if they feel you are not aware of them. Maintain eye contact with the shark and try to stay facing it at all times.

  • Back away slowly – 

If the shark is swimming towards you, slowly and calmly back away. Don’t turn your back on the shark or try to swim away quickly, as this can trigger an attack.

  •  Make yourself look bigger – 

Raise your arms above your head or hold onto a surfboard or other object to make yourself look larger and more intimidating to the shark.

If you’re being attacked:

  • Fight back –

 If a shark attacks you, don’t play dead. Fight back with whatever you have, such as a surfboard, your fists, or even your bare hands. Aim for the shark’s eyes, gills, or nose, as these are its most sensitive areas.

  • Get out of the water as quickly as possible – 

Once you’ve fought off the shark, swim to shore or get out of the water as quickly as possible. Don’t wait around or hesitate, as the shark may come back for another attack.

  • Seek medical attention immediately – 

Even if your injuries seem minor, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Shark bites can be serious and can lead to infection or other complications if left untreated.


By following these tips and techniques, you can minimise the risk of encountering a shark and enjoy a safe swim in the ocean. If you want to learn more about swimming safety, check out SwimRight Academy, which offers courses and resources on water safety and swimming techniques. Stay safe and happy swimming!

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