Sharks are scary to us. That goes without saying. Whether this is due to "Jaws" is kind of a chicken and egg question. But the fact is: Ocean swimming is somewhat frightening because of potential shark attacks.
However, here's some good news for you. According to a new study from Stanford, shark attacks along the California coast are extremely low:
[D]espite increasing records of shark attacks - mostly by white sharks - in California, the individual attack risk has dropped by more than 91 percent during the past six decades.
How does this contradiction work? Scientists point out that human population is expanding, and there are now more ocean areas open for people to swim. If you have more people in the water, you're going to have more attacks. But the likelihood of being attacked is still super low.
In fact, to drill the point home, the research goes through a handful of other ocean activities that are way more dangerous than sharks: Scuba divers are 6,897 times more likely to be hospitalized due to decompression sickness, and ocean swimmers are 1,817 times more likely to drown.
The best way to avoid a shark attack is, obviously, to swim when they're not around. Scientists recommend avoiding the coast of Mendocino between October and November because it is the riskiest time and place for shark attacks. And if you're between L.A. and San Diego, you can drastically lower the risk by swimming in March.
But the main takeaway is: If you're heading out to swim, surf, or scuba, avoid other potential risks rather than fret over the unlikely event of a shark taking a bite out of you.