11 Of The Most Shark-Infested Waters In The World

Source: Natural History Photo

Sharks are a massive waterborne predator, one that many people fear. This fear was not helped by Jaws, which created massive fear of the water in average beachgoers, despite the fact that you’re more likely to be hit by lightning than to die from a shark attack. In spite of this, there are still many people terrified of sharks, making these shark-infested beaches a source of both joy, thrill, and terror. 

1. Sennen Cove, United Kingdom

This tiny, one-mile stretch of beach is famous for its sightings of basking sharks. These enormous species of shark can grow up to 40 feet long, and weigh as much as 10,000 pounds. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fortunately for people, basking sharks are gentle creatures and are not interested in eating mammals. They have small, hooked teeth and, like whales, they filter plankton and other tiny sea creatures through their large gills. They’re generally not considered dangerous to humans, though their sharp skin scales have injured divers.

2. New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Florida has more shark attacks each year than any other area in the world. A disproportionate number of them happen in Volusia county, where New Smyrna Beach is located, according to shark researcher Blake Chapman. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

There have been 303 unprovoked shark attacks since records started being kept in 1882, which nearly double the amount of the next-highest area of Florida, Brevard County. 

3. Bondi Beach, Australia

Australia has the second-highest number of unprovoked shark bites in the world. Long-term data shows that attacks are on the rise, according to a study done by Chapman. There have been 139 shark bites since 2007, with 15 of them fatal. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Most of the attacks have taken place off the coast of New South Wales, the state where Bondi Beach is located. One group of swimmers in Bondi were photobombed by a shark in 2015 while taking underwater pictures, and a 7-foot mako shark washed up dead on the beach in 2018. 

4. Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Large groups of giant, but gentle, whale sharks migrate through the waters off of Isla Mujeres in May, all the way through September. They bring tourists and divers from all over the world, with an annual Whale Shark Festival being held in mid-July.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Like whales, these sharks are filter-eaters, straining plankton from huge gulps of water with baleen. Sharks’ voracious appetites are one of the reasons that they are so vital to our oceans, despite human’s fears. 

5. Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

Unprovoked shark bites are not frequent in the waters of Reunion Island, which is a French island off the coast of Madagascar. Rates are on the rise over the last decade, though, and one surfer was killed in an attack in May of 2019.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Larger species such as bull and tiger sharks are known to frequent the area, and the area is of particular interest to researchers because of its small population compared to other bite hotspots. The fatality rate is also relatively high, leading to researcher interest. 

6. Gansbaai, South Africa

The Western Cape of South Africa, where Gansbaai is located, has become a popular tourist spot in recent years for individuals looking to cage-dive with Great White sharks. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Because of this, it’s unsurprising that South Africa is a hotspot for unprovoked bites. Many of the most famous unprovoked shark bites come from Great Whites, with the popularity of Jaws stoking fear of these great predators. 

7. La Jolla Shores, California

The shallow waters just off of La Jolla shores in San Diego County, California, is a perfect spot to swim with leopard sharks to swarm the area, thanks to warmer-than-usual waters. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Leopard sharks are generally not considered dangerous. They have very small mouths which are used to suck up squid from the ocean floor, and they are often caught by commercial and recreational fisheries for both food and aquarium use. Visitors and locals alike will go snorkeling with leopard sharks, indicating their safety. 

8. Recife, Brazil

82% of the unprovoked shark bites in Brazil happen in a small area of the northeast coast near Recife, making it one of the highest areas of attacks per kilometer in the world, according to Chapman. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This wasn’t always the case, though. Shark bites were rare in the area until about 1992, when numbers started to increase. Nearby port activity could be one reason why, according to Chapman’s study. Construction displaced aggressive bull sharks and increased boat traffic, and sharks are known to be attracted to the sounds of boats. 

9. Solana Beach, California

California ranks second after Florida for the location of the most unprovoked shark bites in the United States. Since 1837, there have been 124 bites, and 19 took place in San Diego County, where Solana Beach is. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In 2008, a swimmer was fatally attacked, very likely by a Great White shark that is believed to have been approximately 16 feet tall. And, in 2018, just three miles north, a teenage boy was bitten by a shark while lobster diving. 

10. Eureka, California

Humboldt County in Northern California is the second-biggest hotspot for shark attacks in the state. There have been 16 attacks since 1837, according to data. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Eureka is a popular surf spot in the area, and is the location of at least two unprovoked shark bites in the last decade. According to news reports, two different surfers survived great white attacks there both in 2012 and in 2013. 

11. Maui, Hawaii

Shark watching, feeding, and cage diving are popular tourist activities in Hawaii. There are 40 species of sharks that live in the waters around the islands, including hammerheads, blacktips, reef sharks, whale sharks, and some lesser known species like the megamouth. 

Source: Flickr/Forest and Kim Starr

Divers who are part of shark tours are rarely bitten. Having said that, Hawaii has recorded 162 unprovoked bites in the state since the nineteenth century. 64 have happened off the coast of Maui, including a fatal attack in May of 2019. 

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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