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Top 7 Shark Attack Beaches

Updated on February 14, 2013

The International Shark Attack File has just released it's 2012 statistics showing a record 80 shark attacks worldwide. The good news is only 7 of these were fatal, which considering there are over 7 million sharks in the world, is not that bad.


The top general location breakdown is as follows:

  1. Florida - 26 attacks (no fatalities)
  2. Australia - 14 attacks (2 fatalities)
  3. Hawaii - 10 attacks (no fatalities)
  4. California - 5 attacks (1 fatality)
  5. South Carolina - 5 attacks (no fatalities)
  6. South Africa - 4 attacks (3 fatalities)
  7. North Carolina - 2 attacks (no fatalities)

So, want to learn what specific U.S. beaches to stay away from? Here is a list compiled by the Florida Shark Institute.

New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Volusia county has had with well over 210 shark attacks with most of the attacks happening in New Smyrna. This spot is popular with tourists and locals alike, and the constant flow of waves attracts surfers from up and down the coastline. Logic says the more people in the water, the more likely of an attack happening.

North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Ah Hawaii...a surfers paradise...a monk seals paradise...and unfortunately, a sharks paradise. We are talking tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, Galapagos sharks, and many more that congregate both off-shore and in-shore to feed on the seals and other fish in unusually high numbers. The occasional attack on humans is usually due to mistaken identity, with the surfers of Oahuresembling a fat juicy monk seal.

Long Beach Island, N.J.

Yes folks, this was the inspiration for the 1974 novel by Peter Benchley "Jaws," (and the frightening screen adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg). For over 10 days In 1916, New Jersey beach was plagued with five major shark attacks in which 4 people died. It was reported that the water was red with blood as the sharks chased victims all the way to the shoreline. Since that time, attacks have been rare, but the folks of Long Beach will never forget the 1916 horror of events.

Stinson Beach, Calif.

Along the coast of California near the Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais lies the romantic quiet beach community of Stinson Beach. The International Shark Attack File places this beautiful stretch of coast at #4 on the list due to the high numbers of great white sharks that loom up and down this beach. With a high concentration of seals, the sharks food of choice, it is not uncommon for surfers to see the great whites in even less than 20 feet of water.

Beaches of Brevard County, Fla.

Also known as the "space coast," Brevard county is host to a long stretch of popular beaches including Melbourne, Meritt Island, Cocoa Beach, and Satellite Beach. There have been close to 100 shark attacks in that many years along this northern part of Florida's east coast. This is another popular vacation spot, especially during spring break, and the shark s seem to school to that area to feed. The good news? Most of the attacks that have occurred in Florida have been non-fatal.

Horry County, S.C.

Located in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, the tourist destination of Horry County'sMyrtle Beach, has recorded 16 attacks off it's busy beaches. Though there has not been a fatality since 1852, the rest of the county's coast has seen over 30 shark attacks in the past 100 years.

Solana Beach, Calif.

About 20 miles north of San Diego lies the affluent little town of Solana Beach. In April of 2008 66-year-old Dave Martin was swimming with his triathlon training group when he was attacked by a great white. With both his legs chewed to pieces, the wounds were severe enough to be fatal making him the first shark fatality in San Diego County since 1994. Great whites are known for roaming along the corridor of this part of California due to the countless pods of seals and sea lions.

How well do you know sharks?

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    • Lesley Daunt profile image

      Lesley Daunt 5 years ago from Covington, Georgia

      I never heard about that! Thats amazing! I grew up in South Florida and have come face to face with sharks on a number of occasions and have never felt as if I were in danger.

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

      An interesting hub. I think it's fascinating how sharks don't even like the taste of humans. Did you hear about the man who was adrift in the ocean because his boat ran out of fuel? A shark ended up bumping his boat to safety without even bothering to attack him even though the shark could have easily broke then boat. It swam away when it moved the boat close enough to another ship. Pretty cool, huh?