While you are more likely to get electrocuted by Christmas lights than getting attacked by a shark, being chomped on by the sea predator's razor-sharp teeth is still a real fear for many beachgoers.
After a New York City woman was killed in a rare shark attack off Maine's coast and several people reported shark sightings on Long Island beaches, Nassau County officials have stepped up monitoring for sharks in the shallow waters.
Swimming in a group and staying close to shore are two simple ways to avoid a shark attack, according to experts. You can also discourage an attack by not wearing bright clothing or anything shiny. But what do you do if you actually encounter one in the salty waters?
Well, first of all, don't panic. Experts say sudden movements and splashing will attract the shark even more. If you spotted the animal and it spotted you, maintain eye contact. Sharks typically attempt to circle behind you to take a bite, so they will feel less comfortable if you keep an eye on them. Keep calm and slowly back away.
If none of the above options are viable, you should fight back and focus your attacks on the shark's eyes and gills because of the areas' sensitivity.
OCEARCH, an organization that tracks the movement of sharks tagged with a GPS tracker, says the attack that killed 63-year-old Julie Dimperio Holowach in Maine "highlights the need to ramp up efforts to learn more about sharks’ habitats and movements along the Northeast Coast."
It was the first deadly shark attack ever in Maine, and only the second attack there in 200 years. The only other previously recorded unprovoked shark attack in the state was 10 years ago off Eastport, Maine Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said.
“The rarity of this event does not mean it's not going to happen again,” Keliher said.