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Shark attack

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Actress Susan Backlinie playing Chrissie Watkins in a shark attack scene in the movie Jaws
Wound caused by a leopard shark that left one of its teeth in the torso of Charlotte Brynn during her attempt to cross the Catalina Channel

noun - A shark attack is an attack on a human by a shark. Every year around 100 shark attacks are reported worldwide. Seventeen fatalities are recorded as having being caused by shark attacks in 2011, out of 118 recorded attacks. Despite their relative rarity, many people fear shark attacks after occasional serial attacks, such as the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, and horror fiction and films such as the Jaws series.

Almost all shark experts consider that the danger presented by sharks has been exaggerated.

Shark Attack versus Shark Encounter

A shark attack is different from a shark encounter. A shark encounter is when an open water swimmer or any individual in an open body of water is approached by or approaches a shark or group of sharks within visual range. There is no physical contact between a human and a shark in a shark encounter.

International Shark Attack File

The International Shark Attack File is a global database of shark attacks. It began as an attempt to catalogue shark attacks on servicemen during World War II. The Office of Naval Research funded it from 1958 until 1968. During that time a panel of shark experts developed a standard system for collecting accounts of shark attacks from around the world. The file was temporarily housed at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida until a permanent home was found at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. It is currently under the direction of members of the American Elasmobranch Society. The file contains information on over 4,000 shark attacks and includes detailed, often privileged, information including autopsy reports and graphic photos. The file is accessible only to scientists whose access is permitted only by a review board.

Burgert van der Westhuizen, a South African open water swimmer. Photo by Carl Newman

Burgert van der Westhuizen was a South African open water swimmer who tragically passed away while swimming in Jeffreys Bay after a shark attack at the age of 74. Van der Westhuizen was an experienced open water swimmer who regularly swam along the coastline of Jeffreys Bay and in the canals of Marina Martinique and competed in the JBay Swim Challenge in 2012.

Tiger Shark Tracking in Hawaii


Hawaiʻi Tiger Shark Tracking provided by PacIOOS or the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System.

Jaws Opening Scene

Susan Backlinie plays Chrissie Watkins in the opening shark attack scene in the Steven Spielberg's 1975 blockbuster movie Jaws that inaccurately shaped many people's perceptions and opinions of sharks.

WOWSA Live Interview with Charlotte Brynn


Charlotte Brynn on the 6 May 2020 WOWSA Live interview with International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame chairman Ned Denison.

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