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Shark attacks are rare, especially if you take simple precautions to keep lots of distance between yourself and the deadly fish. But in the event you are attacked, forget your valid feelings about how sharks are incredible creatures that deserve our protection, and get ready for a fight that could cost you a limb, or your life.
Should that day ever come, here are seven potentially life-saving tips to increase your chances if a shark decides you look enough like a seal to serve as lunch.
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1. Don’t Panic
If you find yourself face to face with a shark, you’re going to need your wits about you to get away with your life. So keep calm; remember that while sharks are deadly animals, they’re not invincible. Thrashing and flailing is more likely to gain its attention than to drive it away.
2. Play Dead
If you see a shark approaching, this is a last ditch effort to stave off an attack. A shark is more likely to go after a lively target than an immobile one. But once Jaws goes in for the kill, it’s time to fight — he’ll be as happy to eat you dead as alive. From here on out, you’ll have to fight if you want to survive.
3. Fight Back
Once a shark takes hold, the only way you’re getting out alive is to prove that it’s not worth the effort to eat you — because you’re going to cause it pain. Look for a weapon: You’ll probably have to improvise. But any blunt object — a camera, nearby floating wood — will make you a more formidable opponent.
Often repeated advice has it that a good punch to a shark’s snout will send it packing. In fact, the nose is just one of several weak points to aim for. A shark’s head is mostly cartilage, so the gills and eyes are also vulnerable.
4. Fight Smart
Unless you’re Rocky Balboa, you’re not going to knock out a shark with a single punch. Not only will a huge swing slow down in the water due to drag, it’s unlikely to hit a rapidly moving target. Stick with short, direct jabs, so you increase your chances of landing a few in quick succession.
5. Play Defense
Open water, where a shark can come at you from any angle, is the worst position place you can be. Get anything you can to back up against, ideally a reef or a jetty. If there are two of you, line up back to back, so you’ll always have eyes on an approaching attack.
Don’t worry about limiting your escape routes- you won’t out swim a shark, better to improve your chances of sending him away.
6. Call for Backup
Call out to nearby boats, swimmers and anyone on shore for help. Even if they can’t reach you right away, they’ll know you’re in trouble, and will be there to help if you suffer some injuries but escape the worst fate. Who knows, maybe a group of sympathetic dolphins will help you out – they’re fierce animals in their own right.