The truth about shark attacks

News of a shark attacking a Newport Beach swimmer over the Memorial Day weekend has resurrected the seemingly annual panic about the hundreds of deadly predators lurking just off our shores. But statistics bear out a different story: attacks on Southern California beaches are relatively rare. The United States averages 19 shark attacks each year, with only 6 taking place on the Pacific Coast. Meanwhile, 129 million people will visit SoCal beaches and leave unscathed. National Geographic points out that more Americans are injured by toilets each year (43,000) or room fresheners (1,100) than by sharks. Nevertheless, experts recommend that surfers and swimmers take precautions to avoid becoming a statistic. Beachgoers are encouraged to not go into the water alone, and to take efforts to avoid areas inhabited by sea lions, which are a common food source for sharks, as well as being dangerous in their own right. Experts also indicate that seeing a shark is not a reason to panic, but that swimmers should also heed the warnings of lifeguards.

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