For many of us, summer means that it's time to head to the beach. For others, however, the thought of swimming in the ocean triggers no small amount or terror at the thought of a shark lurking below the waves, primed to attack.
But the good news for those shark-phobic is that the odds of being attacked by a shark are extremely low, in the grand scheme of things. And just in time for Shark Week, the Florida Panhandle has released an interactive shark attack global map, chock full of statistics and survival guides to assuage any fears.
In fact, there have been only 3,000 shark attacks with less than 300 fatalities over the past 30 years. Those who live in the United States are 50 times more likely to die by a lightning strike and 10 times more likely to die by a firework accident than be eaten by a shark. Even flying commercial air, which is generally considered to be one of the safest methods of transportation, saw more deaths worldwide (3,416) between 2011 and 2020 alone.
But if you happen to be planning a trip to the Panhandle—or anywhere else in the world, for that matter—the interactive website conveniently lets you see information on where sharks have attacked, whether the attacks were provoked or unprovoked, and whether they were fatal. The statistics can also be easily viewed and sorted by aggregated, filtered, or granular data to learn about specific attacks.
The interactive map portion allows users to clearly see individual shark attack locations with color coded fins—with white fins denoting attacks that victims survived, and red fins indicating fatal attacks. Users can then click on a pop-up card to view detailed information about the attack and species of shark, as well as links to pertinent media.
The interactive data section likewise allows users to select custom or pre-filled date ranges to filter data on information such as the most dangerous sharks, where the attacks occurred, and the worst time of day for the attacks.
“What started out as a fun research project, quickly became a passion project!" reads a press release about the website. "During our research, we learned that in a typical year less than ten humans are killed by sharks. Contrast that with the astronomical figure of 100 million sharks killed by humans."
"We believe that this educational shark attack statistics interactive will help the general public realize that shark attacks are incredibly rare and normally survivable," the statement adds. "Based on the data, we should not fear the sharks—rather, we should protect them.”
Check out the full map here.