9 Tips to Avoid a Scary Shark Attack in Hawai‘i

Stay safe while you enjoy the beautiful blue Pacific.
Photo: Juan Oliphant


We asked the experts for tips on staying clear of sharks. Warning: No guarantees! 


1. Swim, surf and dive with other people, and stay together.


2. Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and night, when sharks move inshore to feed. Top bite times in Hawai‘i are at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.


3. Do not enter the water if you have an open wound or are bleeding. “Any bodily fluid is probably attractive to sharks,” says George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File. “Does that mean a menstruating woman is setting herself up” by going into the ocean? “No.”


4. Don’t swim or surf near people fishing or spearfishing, or cleaning their catch. When spearfishing, tow your catch a safe distance behind.


5. Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances, steep dropoffs, channels and stream mouths (particularly after heavy rains); sharks frequent these in search of prey. Streams and rivers often wash dead animals into the sea.


6. Don’t wear high-contrast-color clothing or shiny jewelry.


7. Don’t splash around or swim with pets, because any erratic movements attract sharks.


8. If turtles or fish behave erratically, or if you see dolphins, leave the water. 


9. If you see a shark, leave the water calmly and quietly. Look at it directly; don’t turn your back. If it approaches, hit its snout. Don’t approach even small sharks. Heed lifeguard warnings and “Shark Sighted” signs. 


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