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The Shark Infested Shores of North America

posted in: North America  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on August 20, 2009  |  5 Comments

The shark attacks off of the Jersey shore in 1916 certainly caused concern amongst beach goers around the world. Every year since news reporters have plastered our television screens and newspapers with news of recent shark attacks – making us wonder why, if so many beaches are dangerous, we bother going at all.

33. squal squal squal shark shark shark shark shark shark shark tubaro tubaro requin requin

Truth be told, most beaches are safe but if you really want to know which beaches have had the most shark incidents then look to the shores below.

10. New Smyrna Beach  – Florida

Morning walk- New Smyrna Beach, Fl.- April 2008

The beaches of Volusia, Florida have a reputation for being the site of the most shark attacks in the world. With over 200 attacks on file you’d think beach goers would stay away but the ratio of visitors to attacks is actually quite low and no one really seems worried about swimming in the waters off of the New Smyrna beaches.

9. Brevard County Beaches – Florida


Cocoa Beach, Klondike Beach, and Jetty Park – all part of the Canaveral National Seashore preserve – are all beaches popular amongst tourists looking to explore areas of Florida other than Orlando. There have been approximately 90 shark related incidents on these beaches over the course of the past 100 years.

8. North Shore – Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu - Eastern shore heading to North Shore.

The waters off of North Shore in Oahu, Hawaii are home to a number of different shark breeds – including tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, and Galapagos sharks. The high number of unprovoked shark attacks that have occurred on this and the surrounding beaches, however, haven’t stopped surfers from flocking to the waters on a regular basis.

7. Horry County – South Carolina

Myrtle Beach Horry county police on the beach April 2004DSCF1500

The beaches of South Carolina are no stranger to shark attacks, having had over 50 in the past 100+ years. Believe it or not, 16 of those 50 attacks happened on the beaches in Horry County alone (aka the home of Myrtle Beach). On the upside, there haven’t been any new attacks since 1852. Maybe the sharks went elsewhere.

6. Long Beach Island – New Jersey

Beach Haven on Long Beach Island, Ocean County, NJ

Ok – Long Beach Island has a reputation for being a shark attack beach but part of that reputation is due to an incident that happened way back in 1916 and part of that reputation is due to the 1974 novel “Jaws” actually being set in New Jersey and based on those incidents. Over an 11 day period during that summer in 1916 there were more than 5 major shark attacks. Today shark attacks off of Long Beach Island are incredibly rare.

5. Solana Beach – California

Solana beach cliffs

Solana Beach is a California destination where sharks love to enter shallow waters in order to search for seals. In 2008 there was a freak accident involving a man who was on a morning swim with his training group. While incidents here aren’t very common, the swimmer did not survive the great white’s attack.

4. West End – Grand Bahamas Island

Enjoying the beautiful scenery

Deaths at West End don’t actually seem to happen right off of the beaches. The last death, in February of 2008, occurred when a man was diving in shark infested waters and the shed an extra special light on the relationship between sharks and the divers who intrude upon their habitats. Tropical waters are, after all, some of the most shark infested in the world.

3. Galveston Beaches – Texas

In Galveston Texas

The beaches of Galveston, Texas aren’t the most active when it comes to shark attacks but they have had their fair share. Since 1911 there have been 12 attacks and one death related to sharks. Keep your eyes peeled while swimming here and get out of the water if you have a concern.

2. Stinson Beach – California

Stinson Beach, CA - Janet's last day in California

The waters off of Stinson Beach in California are a favorite spot for great white sharks to dwell. They, like the sharks on Solana Beach, actually enter the shallow waters in order to hunt for seals but they aren’t exactly stealthy and have managed to scare quite a few surfers in the process.

1. Zihuatenejo – Mexico

La playa La Ropa

We don’t necessarily recommend swimming off the shores of Zihuatenejo, Mexico. In the spring of 2008, over the course of one month alone, there are 3 shark attacks resulting in two fatalities. The folks in Zihuatenejo went on a shark hunt and now regularly patrol the waters where surfers and swimmers lurk.

Remember – we as surfers and swimmers are invading the habitat of the sharks. Keep your eyes peeled and get out of the water if you suspect any type of danger. Oh – and don’t be alarmed by the media hype. Do a little research and you’ll find that even the “Summer of Sharks” was tame compared to those in the past – it was just given a bit more attention!

Responses to this Article

5 Responses to “The Shark Infested Shores of North America”

  1. dennis@speedycash says on

    LOL! Great advertizement! I’ll be sure to visit each beach!

  2. Steve Forbes says on

    The photo purported to be Solana Beach is actually La Jolla. Solana Beach is about 10 miles up the coast. However, a number of shark incidents have occurred in La Jolla as well.

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