Great White Sharks Are on the Move—4 Warning Signs to Stay Out of the Water

For most individuals, the concept of an important white shark conjures notions of needing a much bigger boat or reflections of a sure Tremendous Bowl halftime present gone (hilariously) flawed. For others, nice white sharks are the scariest factor on the planet. Over the previous few weeks, they have been exhibiting up in areas like Florida and New Jersey—and in heretofore unseen numbers.

To be clear, your probabilities of getting attacked by an important white shark within the wild stay vanishingly slim—about one in 11.5 million, based on Julie Andersen, international director of name for PADI Worldwide, in addition to a founding father of Shark Savers, Shark Angels, and Fin Free. (Andersen says the percentages of you dying from mentioned assault are nearer to at least one in 264 million.)

Nonetheless, it is at all times higher to be protected. Here is methods to know whether or not an important white shark could also be within the water, plus some recommendation on what to do should you see one.

READ THIS NEXT: 8 Life-Saving Tricks to Keep away from a Shark Assault.

A large great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) swims near the surface off the coast of Mexico.

Whereas it is “robust to know if shark populations are actually rising,” says Andersen, it is clear the conduct and journey patterns of nice white sharks have shifted lately.

“Shark migrations sometimes revolve across the change in ocean temperatures and seasons,” Andersen explains. “The weird factor we’re seeing is how far north sharks are venturing—Maine, Nova Scotia, Northern California. Mainly, if there is a shoreline within the state, you might have an opportunity to run right into a white shark at this level.”

Andersen attributes the rising frequency of nice white sightings to a shifting tide in issues of preservation. As of this writing, america has roughly 1,000 marine protected areas—primarily aquatic areas protected by conservation—which account for roughly 1 / 4 of the nation’s waters, based on the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Affiliation. This leads to extra meals for sharks, which naturally leads to extra sharks exhibiting up.

So, methods to know if there are nice white sharks within the water?

A great white shark swims among fishes in the ocean.
Shane Myers Pictures

What Greatest Life reported in 2021 stays true right this moment: Sharks will go the place their meals is. Seeing a crowd of birds diving into the water, for example, means there’s doubtless quite a lot of fish—in different phrases, shark meals. And if there’s quite a lot of shark meals in a single location, there is a greater probability of a shark being there.

“Keep out of the water if there are giant shoals of fish on the floor or quite a lot of marine exercise,” Andersen says. “[And] keep away from areas the place persons are actively fishing or spearfishing.”

A young woman wearing a hat uses her smartphone by the wavebreak of a beach on a sunny day.

Many sharks today—together with nice whites, the linchpin of many conservation efforts—are tagged, recognized, and digitally tracked. So, Andersen factors out that you should utilize your telephone to maintain appraised of any sharks which may be in your space.

OCEARCH has a shark-tracking app that is out there on each the App Retailer and Google Play, as does the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. And, in fact, you’ll be able to arrange Google Alerts. For those who’re frightened about seeing an important white shark within the water, seek the advice of these digital means.

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lifeguard standing in the water at the beach

The opposite technique to learn about nice white shark sightings is among the many oldest strategies in human existence: Simply ask.

“Examine with native lifeguards and marine conservation teams,” Andersen says. “Discuss to water customers like fishermen and surfers.”

And if you wish to be additional cautious, at all times swim at a guarded seaside. Within the U.S., seaside cities are likely to put up roundups of guarded seashores on a jurisdictional foundation. For instance, Lengthy Seashore Township, New Jerse maintains an inventory of presently guarded seashores in and round city. And keep in mind that many public seashores do not rent lifeguards till Memorial Day and even mid-June (when colleges sometimes set free).

Person swimming in the ocean at sunrise

As Greatest Life beforehand reported, sharks are likely to feed extra at nightfall and daybreak. As Andersen explains, there’s lowered visibility when it is not daylight.

So, between the elevated chance of operating right into a shark and your lowered probabilities of truly seeing mentioned shark, should you dwell in a area with elevated nice white sightings, it is wisest to keep away from swimming outdoors of daytime altogether.


For those who do find yourself seeing an important white shark, the primary factor it’s best to do is keep calm. “Keep eye contact, and ensure the shark sees you,” Andersen mentioned. “You would not run from a lion or a bear, proper? For those who occur upon a shark within the wild, do your finest to maintain calm and maintain your distance. Keep in mind, sharks actually do not need to eat individuals.”

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