Statistically speaking, your chances of being attacked by a shark are pretty slim. In a given year, you’re looking at about a one in 11.5 million chance, and the chances of dying in a car accident are about one in 6,700. While it seems like you may be better off swimming to work, if you live near these beaches, I’d recommend the bus.
1. New Smyrna Beach, Florida: Home to an astounding 238 attacks, this Florida beach consistently records more shark attacks than any other beach. However, despite that alarming number, there has yet to be a fatal attack. Most of the bites are from young bull sharks nibbling for what they think is food. New Smyrna Beach is part of Volusia County, Florida. A very popular beach, many claim that the reason the number of attacks is so high is simply because the number of people in the water on any given day is so high as well. Fishermen, swimmers and surfers flock to the beach whenever they get the chance and never seem deterred by reported attacks.
2. Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida: In 2001, this popular Volusia County surfing spot reported a record 22 shark attacks. In 2008, that record was broken when 23 attacks were reported. Luckily, none of those 23 attacks were fatal. The Ponce de Leon Inlet is an opening in the barrier islands of central Florida, and sits at the intersection of the Halifax and Indian Rivers on the Atlantic coastline. The Inlet is part of Volusia County, the same county as New Smyrna Beach, number one on this list. The ever-present spinner and blacktip sharks are often spotted and dismissed by surfers. Though the number of attacks is alarmingly high, local surfers have not been deterred. Many of the victims say they cannot wait to get back out on the water.
3. Perth, Western Australia: Perth, in Western Australia, is a hotspot for sharks. Along with other known large breeding grounds in Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil and Iran, Western Oz has been home to its fair share of predation. This time last year, the fifth fatal shark attack in ten months occurred just off an island to the north of Perth. Unfortunately, Perth isn’t the only place in WA that plays host to many sharks. Western Australia on the whole is home to masses and it so happens that there have been an inordinate number in the Perth area. Officials aren’t sure what causes these attacks and why they seem to occur in groups, but efforts are being made to track the migratory patterns and general movement of sharks so as to assess the situation better.
Correction appended: An earlier version of this story misstated facts and statistics regarding the number of shark attacks at Fletcher Cove, San Diego, California, and the location of shark attacks in Australia.