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Fisheries Expert Says Shark Bites Overshadow Ocean's Real Danger: Rip Currents

Wikimedia Commons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_current
Rip Current Mechanism: Breakers cross sand bars off the shore, the water has to travel back out to sea through a gap in the sand bar, creating a fast rip current.

Shark bites have been dominating the headlines in coastal North Carolina for weeks. But sharks aren’t the most dangerous risk swimmers face in the ocean.  

So far this summer, North Carolina has experienced a record-breaking number of shark attacks: 8, to be precise – with the most recent bite occurring over the holiday weekend. But Scott Baker, a fisheries specialist with the North Carolina Sea Grant Extension program, says that these shark bites are overshadowing the ocean’s real danger:

"Folks have a very broad interest in sharks, and rightly so, because they can be dangerous. But there are many other risks in the ocean that folks should be concerned about, like rip currents and general water safety."

According to Baker, from 2000 to 2015 in North Carolina alone, rip currents were associated with at least 58 deaths.

If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore to escape.