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.

An aerial shot of New Smyrna Beach shows many sharks lurking close to shore.

An aerial shot of New Smyrna Beach shows many sharks lurking close to shore. Photo: Surf There Now


The Inertia

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.

Daniel True, 19, was bitten on his right foot while surfing in the Inlet in September 2011.

Daniel True, 19, was bitten on his right foot while surfing the Inlet in September 2011. Photo: Sharkattackmonitor.wordpress.com

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.

Martin Kane displays the surf ski that came between him and a great white in Australia in June 2012.

Martin Kane displays the surf ski that came between him and a great white in Australia in June 2012. Photo: Australian Geographic

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.

1 2 3
  • Matt McGee

    Can you cite your sources? 142 attacks at Fletcher Cove since 1900? The International Shark Attack File shows 17 total attacks in all of SD County since 1926 so there is no possible way there have been 142 attacks in Solana Beach alone. I don’t expect to see this kind of sensationalism in this blog, particularly when a simple Google search that took 15 seconds shows this can’t possibly by accurate.

  • Ben

    There are a number of very serious inaccuracies in this article. In the future, please fact check information before posting.

    1. Ms. Johnson is grossly inaccurate regarding the 142 shark attacks at Fletcher Cove. In recorded CA history, there have been 180 authenticated shark attacks in California, with 13 fatalities (Source: Shark Research Committee). There was a single attack at Fletcher Cove.

    2. New South Wales is not a single beach. It is a vast swath of coastline running from the Gold Coast past Sydney. It takes approximately 12-14 hours driving to cover the area.

    3. No inclusion of any Reunion Island beaches, where the government is in the process of culling bull and tiger sharks in an effort to reduce attacks? Same question regarding the Transkei region beaches of South Africa during the sardine runs, Dillon’s Beach in Marin, Recife in Brazil, etc?

    Again, for the sake of every surfer trying to shake the Spicoli/Point Break stereotype, make sure the information is accurate before posting.

  • Stu Nettle

    There’s a few mistakes in No. 10. Paul de Gelder was bitten off Garden Island in Sydney Harbour while Elyse Francom was bitten off Garden Island near Perth, 4,000 kilometres away.

    Also, Nick Edwards wasn’t killed at Garden Island (the one near Perth) but at Gracetown, 300 kilometres to the south.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Garden island is inside Sydney Harbour … there is no beach there.

  • Matt McGee

    Are you guys going to correct this story? Absolute garbage.

  • Joe M

    It’s interesting that people are so anxious to correct errors in the direction of citing too many shark attacks. But, nobody seems to recognize dubious statements in the other direction.

    For example, comparing the chances of dying via shark attack to dying via car accident by population/cod is highly misleading. Relatively few people even go into the ocean. Almost everyone rides in cars, usually on a daily basis.

    The correct way to compare such statistics is to measure per risk incident (ie. per swim at a beach where sharks are present). While still relatively rare, the public deserves an honest and accurate portrayal of the risk of shark attacks. The dishonesty and misinformation involved in trying to downplay the risk is unethical.

  • http://perthairporthotels.net.au/ calvin kelly

    There are many parts of the oceans and seas that we need to be careful with. We need a full list of all these so everyone will know where to go and where not to go.

  • http://tantrumradio.com/ anon_commenter

    ponce inlet is just the north end of new smyrna beach, separating them into 2 different spots seems odd. i surfed there for 15 years & saw sharks more often than not. never bitten or known anyone who has. moved to orlando and was hit by cars/suv’s 4 times in 5 years on my bike. its so damn strange what people choose to be scared of, versus what is actually a threat