You Probably Won't Die In a Shark Attack

Scary risks aren't always common risks.


As you enjoy Shark Week, bOING bOING offers a useful reminder about relative risks:

About 200 million people go to U.S. beaches each year. About 36 of those hundreds of millions are attacked by sharks. Most of them survive. In contrast, more than 30,000 of those millions of beach-goers are to be rescued from surfing accidents. And many of those humans each year die, or must be rescued, from drowning incidents in which no other creature is to blame.

I have no stats, alas, on how often shark attacks are "personal":

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    1. And way more than that are injured or killed in automobile accidents on the way to the beach, driving on government ROADZ.

  2. We’re gonna need a bigger blog.

    1. So your great-granddad can post the bordereau?

    2. I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS!

      1. I’m not going to waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch.

        1. You’ve been counting money all yer life.

  3. How about an analyis of the relative risks of being harmed by terrorists vs. being robbed by the government every other week?

    1. I think I meant “analysis”, but it works as is.

  4. I had a blacktip shark swim around me while diving for scallops back in the 90s. Maybe a five-or-six foot shark, about a mile offshore. I turned with it as it circled me, trying to decide whether my diving knife would do any good if it came at me. Fortunately, it swam away.

    Off of Florida, sharks generally won’t attack an adult human in relatively clear water. We’re bigger than their typical prey. Not the case in the Pacific, of course.

    1. Is that a joke about the relative size of asian/pacific islanders?

      1. Great whites eat sea lions and other big stuff, so no.

        1. I would always get a little nervous when snorkeling at the beach in Rhode Island because there were known Great Whites out off Watch Hill. Never had a problem, though. Great snorkeling too.

          1. They’re not unheard of in the Atlantic, but they’re much less common on this coast.

            Go kayaking with the orcas. They supposedly stop great whites from getting anywhere near the San Juan islands.

        2. Well, anyone who knows anything knows that, but mine was a funnier interpretation.

    2. Hmmm. Same thing here, but it was not a shark. I was scalloping on the gulf coast of florida. I kept getting the feeling something was there and kept turning and looking all around me, but never saw anything. Once my fin struck something that shouldnt have been there and again I spun around….nothing.

      When I got back on the boat the guys said “Whooooah that was so cool! Wow, what was that like?”. I had no idea what they were talking about.

      Apparently they had watched a dolphin swim all around me for ten minutes, and I was never really aware of it’s presence. A very humbling experience. One toe in the surf and humans enter a whole new world, one which is not their element.

      1. I was paddling a raft and nearly shit my pants when a fin broke the water a foot away from my hand. Porpoise. But my body saw shark.

      2. I think that is a the point of the article.

        not our element so we drown in it….and yet sharks which are highly evolved predators in that element leave us alone despite our vulnerability in it.

        It is weird really…if 200 million people wondered around in the African savanna in nothing but bathing suits I have the funny feeling the lions and hyenas would not be so ambivalent.

        Sharks really must think we taste bad.

  5. You should have linked to the Shark Week promo:


    1. Megalodon lives. As long as you chum the waters for 3 or 4 square miles first.

    2. Heh. Snuffy. Who could have seen that coming?

      What is this baloney about Megalodon lives? I guess if people will swallow ‘Hope and Change’ they will lap that up too.

      1. It was awesome. That was epic Jedi level trolling and Discovery is getting a ton of shit for it but I watched it and it was out-fucking-standing. Plus they have taryn Suthern on after the show and well, she is smoking hot. And her songs are awesome.

  6. About 36 of those hundreds of millions are attacked by sharks. Most of them survive, grotesquely mutilated.


  7. OT:

    NEW YORK (AP) — PNC Financial Services said Thursday that the Justice Department and federal regulators are examining some of its mortgage-related practices, including how it priced mortgage loans.
    The Pittsburgh-based bank said in a regulatory filing that the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are investigating whether the way mortgages were priced by National City and PNC “had a disparate impact on protected classes” of homeowners.



  8. I have no stats, alas, on how often shark attacks are “personal”

    Make no mistake: all of them.

    1. How many are Voodoo curses that cause the victim and shark to have psychic links?

  9. Of course we’re not going to die of shark attacks, the TERRORISM!ists are gonna get us all first.

  10. There is something primally frightening about being eaten alive. It’s no surprise that the thought focuses the attention more than statistics would justify. Nobody would watch the Discovery Channel’s “Drowning Week.”

    1. Nobody would watch the Discovery Channel’s “Drowning Week.”

      You underestimate us.

      1. Don’t you mean overestimate?

        1. Meh, either way I guess.

  11. Where have you gone, Don LaFontaine?

    1. He’s now… In a World of the dead!

  12. In contrast, more than 30,000 of those millions of beach-goers are to be rescued from surfing accidents. And many of those humans each year die, or must be rescued, from drowning incidents in which no other creature is to blame.

    BAN IT.

  13. The creepiest thing about Jaws: The Revenge is what happened to the little girl.

  14. But it could happen.

    Therefor, no expense is too great, if it saves JUST ONE LIFE!

  15. You probably won’t die in a shark attack…but you might.

    1. What was that? A tar dolphin…or a tar shark?

      1. Tar?


    2. Is it better to be raped by a dolphin?

      1. Didn’t that happen to Hank Hill?

  16. “”We write in our capacity as leaders of the Black American Leadership Alliance, a Washington, DC-based organization whose primary mission is to further the economic and social interests of the black community,” the [Black American Leadership Alliance] wrote to [Rep. Paul] Ryan. “We are concerned about the irreparable damage to the black community that an earned legalization plan, or any other similar House bill granting amnesty to illegal immigrants, would cause.”

    “The group argues that the passage of an “amnesty bill” into law would have “disastrous effects” economically “on all low-wage workers” but specifically “that the impact on African Americans would be especially catastrophic.” It cites various research by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Department of Labor, and Harvard economist George Borjas, among other sources, to make its case.”


  17. I saw a headline the other day about the Japanese shipping up a robot to the ISS witg something in it about a “robo-chum.”

    I couldn’t stop giggling at the though of a robot made up of articulated arms attached to a wood chipper that would pull random pieces of meat/animals out of a hopper, stuff them into the wood chipper, and spew industeial quantities of chum overboard.

    1. Um…hilarious?

  18. “personal”

    It is a shark so it is “sharkal”

  19. Daytona is supposedly one of the more active shark areas, but you’re unlikely to die if attacked because the sharks are these guys:


    But you won’t be happy about either.

  20. Aquatic apes, stay out of deep waters.

  21. I got bitten by a shark in Florida

    Thankfully, by very little shark. And it was my fault, I had kicked him. He gave me a “WTF did you do that nip” and swam off.

    1. The kick was accidental, I didn’t even see him.

  22. Shark attack stats are greatly under reported. Even in the US. George Burgess is a shark apologist and a PR flak for Big Shark.

  23. So if the wave that got me had been a shark, I’d probably still be surfing.

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