It seems that sharks have been dominating the news cycles recently. With the popularity of drones skyrocketing, we are getting a better look than ever at the waters that we have traditionally shared with these aquatic beasts. Just earlier this week, a helicopter off of San Juan Capistrano warned paddleboarders to “calmly exit the water” because they were “paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks”.
So how should we deal with this skyrocketing number of shark sightings? Well, first, let’s hold our shark-horses because more shark-sightings don’t mean more sharks. Those drones I mentioned are just giving us a better view as to what has always been out there. In fact, the number of sharks being reported this year by officials is basically the same as last year. However, the seal and sealion populations have been rebounding in the last few years, and with rebounding prey populations, rebounding predator populations do happen. Combine that with smartphone and drone footage, and you’ve got the recipe for some serious fear-mongering. But let me pull you in the other direction, now: Don’t go trying to slow-dance with sharks. They are dangerous, and if you see one, you’re already too close. Get out of the water– and try to do so calmly but deliberately, as thrashing in the water signals to the sharks that you are wounded prey and an easy lunch.
So far, there have been a few dozen shark sightings in just the last few weeks alone– so keep being careful out there. Keep an eye out, listen to lifeguards who have a higher vantage point that you do in the water (and who train for this stuff), and most importantly: Have fun out there, and happy Friday!