How to behave if you find yourself face to face with a shark? tells you the right things to do in the event of an unfortunate encounter while swimming in troubled waters.

It’s the beginning of summer holidays and beach vacations. Last week, two tourists, an Austrian and a Romanian, were killed by a shark in Egypt near Hurghada on the Red Sea.

Rest assured, shark attacks remain extremely rare. “Humans are not on the shark menu,” explains Lucien Besnard, doctor in marine ecology at the University of Western Brittany and shark specialist, to However, it can happen on rare occasions to come face to face with a shark. Here are the steps to follow.

· Keep calm

The first thing to do is to stay calm and not panic. Do not try to flee or make noise. “Otherwise, we behave like prey and we will attract the curiosity of the shark”, explains Lucien Besnard.

“If you stay calm, most of the time the shark won’t care about you,” he continues.

Maintain eye contact

If despite this you attract the shark, the important thing is never to turn your back on it. On the contrary, it is essential to maintain visual contact with the animal. The shark is very curious, if it thinks you haven’t seen it, it will keep approaching. In fact, “most attacks are not really attacks but exploratory bites”, explains Lucien Besnard.

“They are quite flighty and fearful for most species,” he continues.

As soon as the shark moves away, you can slowly return to shore.

・Keep your distance

In the rare cases where this is not enough and the shark approaches you, you should try to keep a distance from it. For this, use for example your camera, a snorkel, a mask between the animal and you. He will be able to understand that you are not prey.

Contrary to popular belief, trying to hit or push the shark is “mythical”, according to the specialist. “Tapping the muzzle or the gills are a bit of a legend and it’s above all much too difficult to put in place”, he explains.

Avoid troubled waters

Keep in mind that the shark is a wild animal and it is difficult to predict its reactions. To avoid all this, it is preferable to act upstream to avoid finding yourself in this type of situation.

In places where there is a high concentration of sharks, such as Florida for example, it is strongly advised not to swim in murky waters. Indeed, it is the lack of visibility that can cause a shark to confuse a human with a prey. This is particularly the case at sunrise or sunset.

“The percentage chance of encountering a shark is very low,” explains Lucien Besnard. “At the end of the day, they kill far fewer humans each year than cows or dogs,” he concludes.

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