How To Swim With Sharks

According to actual shark expert John E. McCosker.

July 27, 2017
How To Swim With Sharks

If you’re going for a dip in the ocean there’s no real need to fear the fin. At least that’s what we hear from John E. McCosker, the Ph.D Chair of Aquatic Biology, Emeritus, California Academy of Sciences, a.k.a. a real life shark expert.

Know your risks

“Sharks are not the problem in the ocean. There are plenty of ways to drown, or get hit by a drunken boat operator, but shark attacks are a very unlikely risk.”

Seriously, you might never see one

“In California there are as many as three or four shark attacks a year, or as few as none. One fatality a decade. More people die driving to the beach than are bitten by sharks once they get in the water. When you think about how few people are injured or killed by sharks every year, that number is very small considering the billions of hours that humans spend in the water recreationally and the hundreds of millions of sharks that we kill every year — it’s hardly fair. Many people have been snorkeling or scuba diving for years hoping to see a shark and they probably have been seen by sharks a number of times, but they have never seen a shark.”

Most sharks aren’t coming for you

“Sharks are frightened by people. There are many many different types of sharks and only three or four of them are dangerous to humans. Most of that danger is [also] incidental, rather than them hunting us down or trying to consume us.”

Be brave in the face of lingering fear

“Try and get over the fear. You’re missing two thirds of the planet — some of the most remarkable places on earth that you can visit. The likelihood of a shark attack is so infinitesimally small that you don’t have to worry about sharks.”

But if you really want to do it — and have the cash — it is possible to chill with a shark in a safe way

“Some people just really want to get in the water with white sharks. People call them great white sharks, I call them white sharks — there’s no need for hyperbole. They’re big; they can weigh up to three and a half tons. First it was only the thrill-seekers, but now anyone who can afford it can do it. One goes out into the ocean where there is a high probability of encountering sharks — hopefully a white shark — and you take your turn getting into these cages. It looks like a big chicken wire box. You get to take their picture and watch them. You can rub them as they swim by you and you put your hand outside the cage. It’s very dramatic to be in the cage and have a big white shark come by and then have another one bash into the cage from behind you. It’s quite a memorable experience.”

How To Swim With Sharks