Crucial Tips from a Shark Attack Survivor: How to Avoid Deadly Encounters

In 1997, Mike Coots, an avid bodyboarder, had a life-altering experience off the coast of Hawaii. He was attacked by a tiger shark and lost his right leg.

Rather than developing a fear of sharks, Coots chose a different path. He became a shark conservationist, dedicating his life to understanding and protecting these misunderstood creatures.

Coots’ journey into the world of sharks has been about survival and education. Over the past two decades, he has swum with these apex predators, learning their behaviors and understanding their instincts.

Based on his experiences, Coots has developed a set of dos and don’ts for those who might encounter a shark, which he shared with MailOnline Travel.

Coots emphasizes the importance of maintaining eye contact with sharks. By doing so, it significantly reduces the risk of an attack because sharks are ambush predators and are less likely to attack if they know you’re aware of their presence. He also advises against turning your back on a shark, as this could provoke an attack.

Additionally, Coots suggests avoiding splashing or panicking in the water, as these actions can make you appear like an injured animal, attracting sharks. Instead, he recommends making yourself seem large and maintaining a calm demeanor. He also highlights the importance of clear visibility underwater for safety when swimming with sharks.

However, Coots’ work goes beyond providing safety tips. He is dedicated to dispelling misconceptions about sharks. Contrary to popular belief, sharks do not have an inherent desire to bite humans as soon as they enter the water.

According to Coots, this misconception is largely due to Hollywood’s portrayal of sharks and sensationalized media coverage.

To challenge these misconceptions, Coots has taken up photography, capturing stunning images of sharks. His photo book, ‘Shark: Portraits,’ showcases the beauty and complexity of these creatures, offering a fresh perspective to those unfamiliar with them.

Coots believes that sharks are misunderstood and play a vital role in a healthy marine ecosystem. He hopes his efforts will help people appreciate the importance of sharks and contribute to their conservation.

Mike Coots’ story is a powerful reminder that fear should not shape our understanding of the natural world. Instead, we should strive to learn, understand, and respect all creatures, even those we may initially fear.

His work serves as an inspiration for us to look beyond our fears and misconceptions, fostering a deeper appreciation for the delicate balance of life on our planet.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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