10 Most Dangerous Places for Shark Attacks

Volusia County, Fla.
With more people interested in surfing, there are more people in the water.
With more people interested in surfing, there are more people in the water.
Anthony Ong/Digital Vision/Getty Images


­It may seem strange for the No. 2 dangerous spot to outrank the No. 1 most dangerous spot in number of attacks; South Africa, as we mentioned, boasts 241 attacks and 54 fatalities, while Volusia County, Florida ranks over that with 267 attacks since 1882, but none of them fatal [source: ISAF]. Yet what's worth remembering here is that South Africa's attacks occurred over 2,798 miles (4,503 kilometers) of coastline, while these 210 attacks occurred in a single county.

Indeed, at New Smyrna Beach, located in Volusia, there are more incidents per square mile than on any other beach in the world [source: Luscombe]. If you've been swimming at New Smyrna, you've probably been within 10 feet (3 meters) of a shark [source: Regenold]. These distinctions have earned New Smyrna Beach the nickname "Shark Attack Capital of the World."

Are the people swimming at New Smyrna Beach particularly delicious? Are the sharks hungrier here? While the area is home to many baitfish, a common prey for these sharks, the real reason for the high number of attacks is simply the number of people in the water. Swimmers and fishermen flock to these waters, and the beaches in this county are some of the most popular in the state for surfing [sources: Lursson, Canedy].

Being known as the "shark attack capital of the world" doesn't seem to dissuade surfers and swimmers, though. In fact, the deputy beach chief reported that when he closes the beaches following shark sightings and attacks, he receives angry voice mail messages [source: Canedy]. That may be because attacks in Volusia County are fairly mild and are usually just minor bites. Some shark attack victims even drive themselves to the hospital [sources: Taylor, Eckinger].

Want to learn more about sharks before setting off for the beach? Dive into the links on the next page.

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