Do you know the best way to protect yourself from shark attacks?
Factors to consider:
History of the location: Is there a history of shark activity, or shark attacks where you are? Have there been any recent reports on Dorsal Watch of sharks nearby?
Surf Life Saving Clubs: It is generally recommended to enjoy the ocean between the flags put in place by Lifeguards because they are trained to recognize dangerous conditions and marine predator activity. Also they should be trained in first aid and basic life support such as bleeding control measures like tourniquet application, contacting emergency medical services, and CPR.
Time of Day: Most surfers get up early and do what is known as, “Dawn Patrol,” early in the morning to take advantage of tides and less windy conditions. It is generally understood that sharks are more active during dusk and dawn, and since low light conditions may affect a sharks ability to identify its prey they may be more likely to investigate a human with their primary means of identification. In addition, a recent study conducted by Ballas et al., 2017, identified that most of the unprovoked shark attacks that occurred around Réunion Island occurred in the afternoon during winter.
Number of People in the Water: 2 is 1, 1 is none, is a common phrase echoed by members of the military, which applies to water sports such as surfing. Sharks may be wearier to investigate large packs of surfers or divers so it is generally a good idea to not surf by alone. Furthermore, surfing with other people means that if something does happen such as a shark attack, fin laceration, broken bone, unconsciousness, etc., there will be someone there to help.
Your body movements: If you encounter a Shark it’s important to keep your body movements calm and deliberate. If you freak out and start splashing like crazy a shark may mistake you as prey, or injured prey and amp up its investigation to attack. Of course, if the shark has just ambushed you and is about to bite you all bets are off. In this case you can punch it in the nose as some people have like Mick Fanning and Dr. Charlie Fry. Just be carefully you don’t punch your arm into the sharks mouth. Alternatively, you can aim for other sensitive items such as the eyes of gills.
Personal Shark Deterrents: There are a few shark deterrents on the market today varying from electronic to dead shark scents with some being legitimate and others seeming a lot more like snake oil. The use of any type of personal shark deterrent should be carefully researched and investigated prior to purchase or use. When researching ask these questions:
Does it work against great white sharks?
Are there any reported incidents or online videos of device failures?
Has Myth Busters or similar TV show debunked their claims?
Has the device been independently investigated, tested, and endorsed by a valid organization?
If electronic is the current in a verified and safe range for humans?
If electronic, how easy is it to use, operate, charge, test prior to use?
How much does it weigh?
Is it bulky or cumbersome to use?
Essentially, do your due diligence and research, and don’t just accept the manufacturers claims. IF you don’t you may be putting yourself at greater risk with a false sense of psychological safety that could jeopardize yours or someone else’s life.
Tourniquets:Ballas et al, 2017, determined in its first of its kind shark attack study that the difference in life and death of shark attacks that were survivable was the immediate use of pre-hospital tourniquets. While it is commonly thought by surfers that their leash can be used as a tourniquet it is actually more of a myth that reality. Could you improvise a tourniquet with a leash cord? Yes. What’s the rate of failure of improvised tourniquets? 75% (Kragh et al, 2008). The surf leash cord is a polymer made to stretch, when placed in a stretched position it will continue to stretch even after its in what your think is its final length, which means loss of limb occlusion pressure over time. A tourniquet is not something you want to apply, and reapply repeatedly because that defeats the purpose of a tourniquet. Furthermore, a leash cord cannot be improvised into a tourniquet with one hand. A tourniquet should have the capacity to be applied 1-handed, because you may only have one hand. Factor in being in a dangerous situation, the ocean or water, having to swim to safety, losing blood rapidly, etc., and you are in a world of hurt if you are trying to create a tourniquet out of what’s around instead of having one that you know and have trained to apply.
OMNA Inc., offers the solution to your surfing and bleeding control needs in the form of our amphibious tourniquets and tourniquet leashes. Our Amphibious Tourniquet is the only Tourniquet specifically designed for marine environments to go in and out of saltwater. Our Tourniquet Leashes also incorporate a tourniquet as the ankle, wrist, or bicep cuff of your surfboard, body board, paddleboard leash / leg rope. They are manufactured with the required medical device certifications and regulated by the government organizations of the countries where they are sold. For about the same price as other surf accessories like Dakine, Creatures of Leisure, FCS, etc you will get not only a leash to retain your board, but a tourniquet that can save your life in or out of the water. You never know if a shark will attack you but you can be certain that you will experience or witness a car accident or other bleeding and or crush injury to limbs that will need a tourniquet. Therefore, you have the means to save a life in your daily commute to the beach, or in the surf.
The Mayo Clinic recently identified that Hypovolemic Shock is the leading cause of death related to bleeding injuries. Hypovolemic Shock is when your body loses enough blood (1/5th or 20%) volume that it interferes with your hearts ability to pump blood to the body. The body reacts by shunting blood to essential organs, and as hypovolemic shock progresses it leads to organ failure, and shock. Consider the following:
Estimated that a person can bleed to death in as little as 3 minutes (180 seconds).
The average adult has 5 liters of blood in their body.
180 seconds / 5 liters = 36 seconds to lose enough blood for Hypovolemic Shock.
Surf Smart, with an OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet or Tourniquet Leash. The life you save may be your own.