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Don't go in the water! Why? The sharks may get you.
Remember the series of "Jaws" movies, in which Great White Sharks were portrayed as efficient human-killing machines, eager to devour anybody who came near their territory? If you watched one or more of the movies it may have seemed like killing people and attacking boats is a great sport for the sharks.
More people are actually killed by dogs every year in the United States than sharks. Between 1916-1969 there were 13 deaths caused by sharks and only 32 attacks on swimmers. Only three times were boats attacked in North America, and only one boat sank--a dory off Brenton, Novia Scotia, Canada.
In fact shark deaths went down worldwide last year. Four people were killed throughout the world by sharks--less than any year during the 1990's. Sharks usually participate in about 2-3 non-fatal attacks on humans in the United States each year.
Actually sharks may be in far more danger from humans than the other way around. In 1992 Great White Sharks were placed on the protected list of species in California, because of the unlawful killing of the sea creatures and other exploitation. Scientists, fishing organizations surfing clubs, private citizens and other diverse groups supported the action. The action may have become necessary because less than 100 adult Great White Sharks are left in the state's waters.
The Great White Shark is actually one of 600 types of sharks, which vary in size. They all have no bones but cartilaginous skelton instead. They are an important but uncommon predator in California feasting on fish rays and other sharks primarily. They also eat the small Harbor Seal, Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, and small-toothed whales.They attack from below with a fatal bite, although they can swallow unchewed creatures half their size--seals, dolphins, turtles, and even the garbage from a ship.
A popular refuge for Great White Sharks is Farallon Islands, a national refuge area, 27 miles off San Fransico. Some of their favorite food is there --Sea Lions, and Harbor Seals. They are also common in the waters of central California and have swam as far as Oregon and the Gulf of Alaska.
Some television shows have demonstrated that even when sharks have attacked people it has been only if blood is around. In addition, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation on February 4, 1999 banned feeding sharks, because the practice may make the creatures more aggressive and likely to attack humans.
Great Whites are large. One of the largest ever was found off Long Island, New York in 1964--17.5 feet in length and it weighed 4,500 pounds.
Maybe the next time you're near the ocean you can set your mind at ease and not think of "Jaws."