Kayaks and Sharks


The fear of sharks can ruin your trips, especially if you’ve recently read about shark attacks. It’s indeed frightening, but do you know what the odds of encountering a shark while kayaking are?

We did all the necessary research, and turns out the chance of your life being under danger due to a shark is 1 in 3,748,067 . Also, we outlined the essential measures that should be taken if you came across a shark while kayaking.

With that being said, let’s get right into it!

Do Sharks Get Attracted to Kayaks?

The short answer is no. The media has led some people into thinking that kayaks are shark magnets. However, we’re pretty sure sharks existed way before kayaks or even humans did, so your kayak isn’t on the menu. 

Just like ships, boats, and even submarines, a shark would pass by totally unprovoked. Then why do we hear about these attacks every once in a while? Because curiosity killed the cat, well, in this case, the shark, but you get the point! 

Animals like to investigate, and a kayak isn’t per se familiar. The majority of the attacks we read about or see on the news are a result of confusion. In contrast, it’s rarely because something actually attracted the shark, which takes us to the next question…

Why Do Sharks Attack Kayaks? 

As mentioned earlier, most of these attacks are because the shark was investigating, or your shadow resembles that of a seal or another marine mammal that the shark usually preys on. Meanwhile, for kayakers who go fishing, it might not be the best idea to hang your fish from the kayak in an area inhabited by sharks; it’s nothing but an invitation to strike. 

What Are the Different Types of Dangerous Sharks? 

You wouldn’t believe that out of 375 different species, only 12 species are categorized as dangerous, with only 3 species being the most involved in human attacks. 

1. Great White Sharks 

About one third to half of the total annual shark attacks are attributed to this species. Thankfully, the majority of these attacks aren’t fatal. Scientists consider the Great White Shark to be one of the most curious creatures that like to get a taste of anything that crosses their path, but soon enough, they release their non-fish prey. 

2. Tiger Sharks  

Tiger sharks come in second when it comes to attacking humans. They’re quite aggressive with excellent sight and smell senses that allow them to easily spot the possible prey. Moreover, they don’t only eat living creatures, but also plenty of other things, including wood, license plates, rubber, you name it!

Although these sharks are extremely dangerous, their population is very low, and they’re usually hunted for their flesh, skin, and other body parts that humans find quite beneficial. 

3. Bull Sharks 

These sharks are as vicious as the name implies. Although the species we talked about earlier cause more fatalities, they’re not as easily provoked to attack. Having said that, we believe that the Bull shark is the most dangerous to encounter because there’s a chance it will attack even if you do absolutely nothing to attract it.

How Often Do Sharks Attack Kayakers? 

While it seems that the number of attacks has been increasing over the years, the percentage hasn’t. It’s just that outdoor water activities are becoming more popular than ever.

Still, the number of shark attacks is nothing compared to other animals that we might not perceive as dangerous ones. For example, dog attacks are a lot more common than shark attacks. Furthermore, elephants cause way more fatalities worldwide than sharks ever do. 

You might even be surprised to know that mosquitos, snails, and tapeworms are all more dangerous than sharks. It’s just that deaths from such animals occur on a daily basis, so it’s no breaking news.  

How to Prevent a Shark Attack? 

Some people say that painting your kayak or avoiding certain colors can help you avoid a shark’s attack. However, that’s not true, at least not according to any scientific findings. 

The best way to avoid a shark attack is to simply stay away from areas where sharks live. As we previously mentioned, it’s better to avoid hanging the fish from the kayak; instead, invest in a cooler or a waterproof storage box. 

Moreover, make sure to always have someone around so that if worse comes to worst, you can get some help. You can also keep different types of shark repellents with you when kayaking in areas known for sharks. 

What to Do If You Encounter a Shark While Kayaking? 

  • Just like any other dangerous situation, it’s important to stay as calm as possible and avoid any reckless reactions that might put your life on the line. 
  • If you notice any dead sea animals floating on the water, leave the area right away. A shark can start attacking to defend their meals or if it thinks of you as a threat. 
  • Avoid smacking the shark if it approached your kayak as it might just be snipping out of curiosity. While the smacking might rarely scare the shark away, there’s a bigger chance it’ll provoke an attack. 
  • If the shark bites your kayak, don’t try to engage in any fights. It’s possible that it confused it for a prey and will soon let it go when it realizes that it doesn’t taste like food. 
  • If you get thrown into the water, try to calmly swim towards the shore without splashing too much. If the shore is far away and there are no other kayaks or boats around, you can swim for some distance and wait for the shark to leave then return to your vessel.  

Final Thoughts 

Sharks didn’t turn out to be much of a threat after all. However, this doesn’t mean that you should underestimate them. Of course, it’d be much safer to go kayaking in areas free of sharks, but the chances of being engaged in a shark attack are way less than that of being in a car accident. 

So, if you take your precautions and you have a friend around, you probably have nothing to worry about, and even if you do encounter a shark, the stakes that you’ll make it through are pretty high.

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