Tread carefully: The New England Aquarium offers tips on how to avoid shark attacks

Metro caught up with The New England Aquarium's Senior Scientist John Mandelman, Ph.D and Spokesman Tony LaCasse for tips on how to stay safe in New England waters.

Great White shark, Carcharodon carcharias, Breaching Great White Shark off Dyer Island located six sea miles off the coast of Gansbaai, and Geyser Rock. A South African Fur Seal colony with approximately 60,000 seals live there. Koekie, an artificial neoprene seal decoy was out For hours. Suddenly, a huge and very heavy body is rocketing out of the water like a torpedo. It has “Koekie” in its mouth. Everything happens in a split second, attack of a Great White Shark are carried out with the utmost precision. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images) Great White shark breaching off Dyer Island located six sea miles off the coast of Gansbaai, and Geyser Rock. Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

 

Two women narrowly escaped with their lives Wednesday evening at Manomet Point when a Great White shark breached four feet into the air, capsizing their kayaks and knocking them into deep, dangerous water.

 

 

The women, who are in their mid-20s and were photographing seals, escaped unscathed, though their kayak suffered a gnarly bite.

 

As summer trickles on, Metro caught up with The New England Aquarium's Senior Scientist John Mandelman, Ph.D and Spokesman Tony LaCasse for tips onhow to avoid shark attacks.

Dodge seals, despite their cuteness, especially at dusk and dawn:

"If you see seals nearby in the water and want to reduce your risk of an attack, get out." said La Casse. "Seals are the primary prey for sharks in these waters."

Unfortunately, no water is too shallow for sharks:

"We've seen sharks take seals right off the beach, so it's completely plausible that [an attack] could happen in shallow water," said Mandelman.

Swim in groups, and stay calm:

"Most shark attack victims die of blood loss combined with shock. If you have someone who is there to help get you to shore and get medical attention you have a better chance of survival," said Mandelman.

Never underestimate life jackets, paddles: [embedgallery id=450355]

"You could be literally knocked unconscious by the shark and survive if you have your life jacket properly secured," said LaCasse. "If in a kayak, I’d keep that paddle handy to be able to divert the shark in the worst case scenario."

Hate to break it to you, but shark repellents don't work:

"It's not like spraying yourself with Deet and going hiking," said Mandelman. "There is no evidence that any shark repellents work, though studies have shown promise. The ones marketed online are based on sensational science."

If you see a dorsal fin:

"Don't try to identify [the species]. Just get out of the water," said LaCasse.

Know the facts, relax:

The last Massachusetts shark attack happened in Truro in 2012, when a Colorado man's legs were bitten. There hasn't been a fatal shark attack here since 1936. Annually, there are less than 70 reported unprovoked attacks worldwide, with less than 10 fatalities.

"Just accept the fact that the likelihood is extremely rare, but if you go swimming you always take a chance," said Mandelman.

Cape-based Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which supports research and tagging of white sharks locally,also offers a list of tips to stay safe and protect local wildlife:

-Avoid isolation
-Limit splashing
-Do not wear shiny jewelry
-Did you know it is illegal to disturb seals?
-Keep pets leashed
-Learn about the beach flag warning system

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 
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