Sharks are amazing creatures with a bad reputation. Though many see them as monsters, sharks are responsible for an average of ten fatalities per year worldwide. Ten deaths a year – compared to eight deaths every day in the US from people texting while driving. Meanwhile, humans kill more than 70 million sharks each year for their fins, teeth, or for sport. It’s time to set the record straight about sharks.
The next time someone tells you they could never scuba dive because they’re afraid of sharks, ask them if they also avoid:
Celebrating – The Daily Mail reports more than two dozen people each year are killed by champagne corks.
Driving – Your odds of being killed in a car accident are 1 in 272.
Eating – The World Health Organization estimates 420,000 people die annually from contaminated food, that includes 5,000 deaths per year in the United States.
Ladders – in 2014 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 113 ladder-related fatalities.
Taking the Subway…or Sleeping! According to MedHelp, “a person is far more likely to die falling out of bed, a chair or other furniture at home than traveling on a railway, where the odds are 1 in 225,879.” The odds of being killed by a shark? 1 in 3,748,067.
In a recent list of the animals most deadly to humans, sharks didn’t even rank in the top 10.
- Dogs are the fourth-deadliest animal on earth, killing 25,000 people each year.
- Hippos kill 2,900 people per year
- Deer kill 130 people annually (mainly by causing car accidents).
- Cows kill about 20 Americans each year, as do horses.
- Bees, wasps, and hornets kill about 30 people per year – as do ants (shudder).
Underwater – No One Can Hear You Sneeze
Statistically speaking, people may be safer underwater, because the average human has a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu. Compare that to a roughly 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark. At least underwater no one can cough on you.
Divers are also less likely to be attacked by a shark in the first place. The highest number of shark attacks in recent history was 79 attacks in one year (2010). The victims of these attacks were:
– Surfers (51%)
– Swimmers or waders (38%)
– Snorkelers and divers (8%)
Source: National Geographic
What animal kills more humans every year than any other? Mosquitos.
The animal that causes the second-highest number of fatalities per year? Humans. O_O
As a diver we know you often get asked, “aren’t you afraid of sharks?!?” Now you can respond accordingly.
To learn more about sharks and shark protection, take the Project AWARE Shark Conservation Distinctive Specialty. Support the efforts of Project AWARE® by making a donation, and/or purchasing a t-shirt, tank, tote bag or other item from the new Project AWARE Teemill shop.
If you are ready to dive with these majestic creatures, visit PADI Travel and start planning your next adventure.