Every year, there are a handful of shark attacks around the world. Many bites are unprovoked, while some are provoked (occur when people are purposefully interacting with or harassing sharks). Very few shark attacks are fatal. In 2022, there were an estimated 91 attacks, 16 of which were provoked, and 9 of which were fatal. Here, we’ll find out the number of shark attacks in South Carolina in 2022. Along the way, we’ll learn a little more about sharks, and how to decrease your risk of being bitten.
Why Do Shark Attacks Happen?
In general, most shark attacks can be attributed to cases of mistaken identity. Humans are not the ideal food for sharks, particularly when the sharks are under ten feet long. Many attacks happen in murky water, or when humans swim in areas with lots of fish or people fishing. Attacks also happen in shallow, offshore sandbars, where larger sharks hunt prey like bony fish and seals. In most cases, bites are rapid, and the shark quickly swims away once it realizes what it has bitten into.
1. Kiawah Island
The first shark attack in South Carolina in 2022 occurred on May 24 in the early afternoon hours. The victim was a 30 year old woman from New Jersey wading in waist deep, murky waters about 40 feet from shore. The shark (species unknown) bit the woman’s calf, leaving several lacerations, before swimming off. The woman waded to shore, where she was treated for her wounds and transported to a local hospital.
2. Myrtle Beach
The second South Carolina shark attack of 2022 reportedly occurred on June 21 at the Pirate Family Campground area of Myrtle Beach. The victim was a teenaged boy. Though few details of the attack were reported on, it appears that the wound(s) were non-life threatening. The teenager was treated at a local hospital.
3. Hilton Head
The third shark attack in South Carolina in 2022 occurred on July 12 at the Palmeto Dunes area of Hilton Head. The victim was a 67 year old woman. The woman was reportedly wading in thigh deep water in the midafternoon waters when a shark (species unknown) bit her hand. The woman was treated at a nearby urgent care, where she received 24 stitches. Undaunted, she returned to the water the next day, taking care to keep her hand dry.
4. Myrtle Beach
The final two shark attacks of 2022 in South Carolina occurred on August 15 at Myrtle Beach. The first victim was wading in waist deep water near 75th Avenue North when a shark (species unknown) clamped onto her lower arm. After some effort on the woman’s part, the shark released its hold. The woman, a visitor from Pennsylvania, reportedly required reparative surgery, and hundreds of stitches, to treat the wound.
5. Myrtle Beach
The final South Carolina shark attack of 2022 occurred later the same day, on August 15. The victim was reportedly bitten on the leg, though no further information on the attack or injury was reported. This attack occurred just ten blocks from the first, near 82nd Avenue.
Why Sharks are Important
Sharks are both apex predators and keystone species. This means that their presence is absolutely vital to the health of the marine ecosystem. Without sharks, the entire food web (and food chain) would be thrown out of balance. So, even though sharks may seem scary, they’re actually incredibly beneficial to our oceans. In fact, humans kill millions upon millions of sharks per year. Contrast this with the fact that your chances of being attacked by a shark are less than 1 in four million.
How to Decrease Your Risk of Shark Attack
There were five confirmed shark attacks in South Carolina in 2022. With that in mind, you might be wondering what you can do to decrease your odds of having an unpleasant, potentially life altering experience with a shark. Though there is no way to guarantee that you’ll be safe from a bite, there are a few steps you can take to decrease your chances.
First, don’t swim at dawn or dusk, as these are prime shark feeding hours. Avoid swimming in places with lots of fish, or people fishing. Further, don’t swim near offshore sandbars or kelp forests, as larger sharks come inland to hunt in these areas. And, if the water is cloudy or murky, use caution, as murky water increases your chances of sustaining an accidental bite. When entering the water, be sure to remove any jewelry or accessories. Jewelry may reflect off the sun, which shark’s might mistake for the glint of a fish.
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- Florida Museum, Available here: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/shark-attacks/yearly-worldwide-summary/
- Tracking Sharks, Available here: https://www.trackingsharks.com/south-carolina-shark-attack-leaves-woman-with-leg-injury/?amp
- Tracking Sharks, Available here: https://www.trackingsharks.com/shark-bite-at-hilton-head-south-carolina/
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- Florida Museum, Available here: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/shark-attacks/odds/compare-risk/death/