How Many Shark Attacks Happened in California in 2022?

Written by Jennifer Hollohan
Updated: March 8, 2023
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Oceans have an air of intrigue and mystery. Many people long for the chance to discover what lies beneath the sometimes calm, sometimes tumultuous surface. But there is also a slight fear of the unknown. What creatures lurk beneath the surface? The 1975 release of Jaws magnified that fear. The movie brought the potential dangers of the ocean to life. 

However, it also singlehandedly created a fascination with sharks, particularly great white sharks. Now, the predators of the deep hold a serious hold on the American public. So much so that one would assume shark attacks are a regular occurrence. And while they do happen, they are not as common as one may think. Given that, it is reasonable to wonder how many shark attacks in California occurred in 2022. That is a good question and one we explore below. Keep reading to learn the answer!

How Long is the California Coastline?

Looking at a map, it feels like the California coastline extends forever. With its 840 miles, it is the third largest coastline in the United States. The California coast has tons of sandy beaches, inlets, and bays. It is a popular destination for numerous water sports, including swimming, diving, surfing, and snorkeling. 

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Gray Whale Cove State Beach

The California coast extends for over 800 miles.

©iStock.com/pikappa

How Many Shark Attacks Happened in California in 2022?

There were four reported shark attacks in California in 2022.

The first occurred on February 26. An anonymous diver got bitten by a shark while in the water near San Miguel Island. She was diving with 13 others. Most of the divers were scallop and lobster hunting. The diver got pulled away from the boat, and a great white shark attacked while she was working her way back to her ride. The shark was an estimated 14 or 15 feet in length. The United States Coast Guard airlifted her to a hospital for evaluation.

Then, on June 22, a swimmer, Stephen Bruemmer, got attacked by a possible great white shark. Bruemmer was swimming off Pacific Grove, about 150 yards from the shore. Others on the beach heard him screaming and rushed to his rescue. He got taken to the hospital with severe injuries to his torso, arm, and leg.

And on October 2, a 31-year-old surfer named Jared Trainor was in the water off Centerville Beach. While sitting on his surfboard, waiting for a wave, he found himself four feet underwater. Before he knew it, an unknown assailant had a grip on his leg and the surfboard. He punched it and kicked it with his free leg. Based on the damage to his surfboard and the 19-inch injury to his thigh, the suspected attacker was a great white shark.

On October 3, two friends were surfing near Bodega Bay, off the Sonoma Coast. Thirty-eight-year-old Eric Steinley was paddling to get closer to the mouth of the river when he spotted a dorsal fin. A 12-foot-long great white shark grabbed his leg and started dragging him under. Steinley ended up punching the shark and cut his hand on the razor-sharp teeth

Shark Bite - Great White

Great white sharks were responsible for all shark attacks on humans in 2022.

©Alessandro De Maddalena/Shutterstock.com

What Kinds of Sharks Live Off the Coast of California?

While the great white shark gets the most notoriety, they are not the only predator lurking in California waters. One of those frequents the reefs and kelp of La Jolla Cove. It is the sevengill shark (Notorynchus cepedianus). 

Another is the school shark (Galeorhinus galeus). But this species spooks easily from the movement of divers. The horn shark (Heterodontus francisci) also doesn’t bother divers since it prefers to lounge on the ocean floor. 

The Pacific angel shark (Squatina californica) is a predator that frequents coastal and sandy areas. But the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) likes deeper waters. 

Other open ocean sharks divers may encounter off the coast of California include the common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus), blue shark (Prionace glauca), and shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus).

But swimmers and snorkelers will likely run into a different collection of sharks, including the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata), swell shark (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum), and gray smooth-hound shark (Mustelus californicus).

However, these are only a handful of the many shark species frequenting the waters of the coast of California. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alessandro De Maddalena/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Jennifer Hollohan is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on gardening, mammals, and travel. Jennifer has over twenty years of writing experience. She holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, which she earned in 2005, and is a Herbalist. Jennifer lives in Colorado with her family. She loves hiking, admiring wildflowers, gardening, and making herbal tea.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How many shark attacks occurred in 2022?

There were 91 reported shark attacks worldwide in 2022. Sixteen got provoked by humans, and unfortunately, nine attacks resulted in fatalities.

How many shark attacks occurred in the United States in 2022?

Out of the 91 attacks globally, 51 happened in the United States.

Where are shark attacks most common?

The most frequent shark attacks are in the waters off of Florida.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. About California, Available here: https://about-california.com/coasts.htm
  2. Scuba Diver Life, Available here: https://scubadiverlife.com/beginners-guide-southern-california-sharks/
  3. Tracking Sharks, Available here: https://www.trackingsharks.com/2022-shark-attack-map/