Sharks are amazing creatures but, unfortunately, in many circles, they have bad reputations. Though many non-divers see them as people-eating monsters, sharks are only responsible for an average of ten fatalities per year worldwide, compared to eight deaths every day in the United States from people texting while driving. Meanwhile, humans kill more than 70 million sharks each year for their fins, teeth, or for sport. Given these statistics, it’s definitely time to set the record straight about sharks.
If you’ve been scuba diving for any length of time, you likely have a fascination with sharks, have dived with them already, or know a shark lover in your diving circle. Divers tend to love exhilarating experiences, and it’s definitely hard to top diving with a Hammerhead, Bull Shark, or even a Great White Shark! But, is it actually that dangerous to dive with sharks? After you read the following statistics, you won’t hesitate to jump in and enjoy the water!
Many of our daily activities are more likely to kill us than sharks
So, the next time someone tells you that 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 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, this 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 fact, in many recent lists 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.
Statistically speaking, people may be safer underwater
The average human has a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the common flu, compared 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%)
What animal kills more humans every year than any other?
Mosquitoes. These pesky insects transmit both malaria and dengue fever. According to the World Health Organization: 429,000 people die from Malaria and 22,000 people die from Dengue Fever.
The animal that causes the second-highest number of fatalities per year? Humans.
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 PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Distinctive Specialty
- Hear PADI AmbassaDiver and shark conservationist Jillian Morris on Dive Stories Podcast
- Read about The Best Locations To Dive With Sharks By Species.
Support PADI AWARE Foundation’s Shark Initiatives:
- Support the efforts of PADI AWARE® Foundation by making a donation.
- Read about PADI AWARE Foundation’s mako shark campaign: Make Time For Makos.
- Join our global community of PADI Torchbearers working together to seek adventure and save the ocean.
Ready to dive with these majestic creatures? Visit PADI Travel and start planning your next adventure today!