A popular getaway for people in West Virginia is the beach. Whether it is the water, sun or relaxation that entices, thousands of West Virginians to flock to all kinds of beaches when summer arrives, there are many dangers that accompany the fun of these trips.

Unsafe fishing habits, marine life and the tides of the water could lead to death and injury. But the main concern for many people are the predators of the seas, sharks.

According to a census taken by National Geographic, just this year there have been 20 reported shark attacks in the U.S., only one of which was fatal.

So, why are there so many shark attacks?

Sharks usually have their young anytime from May to July (the time where we usually are at the beach). The eastern parts of the U.S. are main zones for sharks to give birth. The warm waters and plentiful food makes perfect areas for the sharks to give birth to their young. National Geographic highlighted that the most frequent areas for shark attacks in the U.S. are from the Carolinas to the tip of Florida, the exact areas where these sharks are giving birth.

If you find yourself in the ocean near a shark, why is it so likely the shark will attack? Scientists who have worked with sharks believe that many times when a shark shows aggression toward a human, it is not an attack, at least in the shark’s mind. Very few shark attacks are actually provoked.

Many culprits of shark attacks are young sharks, especially closer to land. They have no idea what a human is. They just smell something in water and want to go see what it is. They will bite at the creature and swim away to see how it reacts.

Unfortunately for us, sharks have deadly bites and those small lacerations can do a lot of damage. Many victims have lasting scars and some have even lost limbs, so sharks are nothing to take lightly.

Precautionary measures against shark bites are a thing that every person at a beach should know:

  • By no means should someone who is bleeding go into the ocean, the sharks can sense the blood and will likely track it.
  • Erratic swimming or splashing could cause a shark to mistake a person for its natural prey.
  • Many sharks feed at night so avoiding the water at those times would be wise.
  • A shark is most likely to attack an isolated person, so swimming in groups would be a wise decision.

Remember when you’re on the beach to always stay safe, but most importantly have fun!