Sharks in New Smyrna Beach [2023]: Attacks, Safety, & More!

Sharks in New Smyrna Beach [2023]: Attacks, Safety, & More!

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New Smyrna Beach is a very popular beach destination known for its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal blue water. It is also one of the best surf towns in the country and is considered a great option for families.

However, it is also known as one of the top shark attack hotspots in Florida. So, if you are looking to visit New Smyrna Beach but are worried about shark incidents in New Smyrna Beach, then this article is for you.

In this article, we have covered everything from New Smyrna Beach shark attack statistics to the shark species that live in the waters around New Smyrna Beach, the reasons behind those attacks, safety tips to avoid shark incidents, and some important information about sharks in New Smyrna Beach that you need to know before visiting this beautiful beach town.

Sharks in New Smyrna Beach [2023]: Attacks, Safety, & More

Are there sharks in New Smyrna Beach?

Are there sharks in New Smyrna Beach?

Unfortunately, the answer is a big “YES.” Aside from its beautiful white sand beach and sparkling blue water, New Smyrna Beach is known for its large population of sharks that can be found lurking in the waters around the area.

Overall, there are at least 40 species of sharks in the waters around New Smyrna Beach. However, the most common shark species in New Smyrna Beach are lemon sharks and blacktip sharks.

In fact, New Smyrna Beach is known as the “Shark Bite Capital of the World.” The reason for this is that New Smyrna Beach has the highest frequency of shark attack incidents in the world.

According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), there have been 337 confirmed shark attacks in Volusia County, where New Smyrna Beach is located, between 1882 and 2020.

When compared to other parts of the United States or the world, you will find that this is a very large number for a small place like Volusia County.

Let’s understand this topic more precisely with the help of data given by the International Shark Attack File (ISAF).

YearWorldwide
(Total Number of Shark bites)
United States
(Total
Number of Shark bites)
Florida
(Total Number of Shark bites)
Volusia County
(Total Number of Shark bites)
202173472817
20205733168
20196441219
20186832184
20178953319
201681533615
20159859307
201473522810
Total60337020879 (13% of total worldwide shark bites)

As you can see in the above table, from 2014 to 2021, there have been 603 shark incidents reported worldwide, out of which 79 were reported alone in Volusia County, the place where New Smyrna Beach is located.

In other words, New Smyrna Beach and the surrounding area reported 13% of worldwide shark incidents (79 out of 603) from 2014 to 2021, which is quite a huge number for such a small place. However, fortunately, as per ISAF data, all 79 of those shark incidents were non-fatal.

If you see data from 2021 alone, you will see that Volusia County reported 17 of 73 worldwide shark incidents, which is 23% of worldwide shark incidents. In other words, New Smyrna Beach is without a doubt the shark bite capital of the world.

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So, Can you swim in New Smyrna Beach?

Can you swim in New Smyrna Beach?

So, can you swim in New Smyrna Beach? Is it safe to swim at New Smyrna Beach? Of course, it is safe to swim in New Smyrna Beach if you follow some basic safety precautions like avoiding murky waters and swimming closer to the lifeguards.

The important thing to understand is that even though New Smyrna beach has the highest number of shark incidents in the world, shark bite incidents are still extremely rare in New Smyrna Beach.

New Smyrna Beach is a world-class beach that attracts thousands of visitors every year. So, if you compare the number of visitors that come to this beach every year with the number of shark bite incidents that happen on this beach, you will find those shark incidents are extremely rare.

For example, New Smyrna Beach reported 17 shark attack incidents in 2021. However, compared to the 422,000 tourists that visited New Smyrna Beach in 2021, 17 is an extremely small number.

In other words, shark attacks in New Smyrna Beach are extremely rare. In fact, as with any Florida beach, you should be more concerned about rip currents in New Smyrna Beach than shark attacks.

Aside from that, the vast majority of shark attacks in New Smyrna Beach are non-fatal. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), from 2012 to 2021, there were 94 shark bite incidents reported in Volusia County, and all of them were non-fatal.

🏖 Relevant reading: 10 Most Dangerous Beaches in Florida in 2023

New Smyrna Beach Shark attacks in 2022

New Smyrna Beach Shark attacks in 2022

As of December 21, 2022, there had been seven reported shark attacks in the New Smyrna Beach area. On March 9, 2022, the first shark bite incident of the year was reported in New Smyrna Beach when a 21-year-old male was attacked by a shark while fishing.

Only a few days after the first shark incident, on March 13, 2022, another shark bite incident was reported in the area when a 20-year-old male was bitten on his right foot.

Fortunately, as compared to the previous year (17 shark incidents), there have been fewer shark bite incidents in New Smyrna Beach in 2022.

Why are there so many shark attacks in New Smyrna Beach?

Reasons for shark attacks in New Smyrna Beach

So, why are there so many shark attacks in New Smyrna Beach and why are there so many sharks around this beach? The answer is ‘Ponce de Leon Inlet’.

Ponce de Leon Inlet is a natural opening near New Smyrna Beach that connects the Halifax River to the Atlantic Ocean. In other words, this place is known for its strong tidal flow, which provides ideal conditions for sharks to hunt.

Unfortunately, the Ponce de Leon inlet is coincidentally closer to the place where surfers like to gather on New Smyrna Beach. That’s why sometimes sharks confuse surfers with their prey and attack them.

Due to this unique coincidence, New Smyrna Beach reports the highest number of shark attack incidents every year than anywhere else in the world.

What type of sharks are there in New Smyrna Beach?

Type of sharks in New Smyrna Beach

Due to ideal conditions for sharks, there is a wide variety of shark species in New Smyrna Beach.

There are at least 40 species of sharks in the waters around New Smyrna Beach. However, the most common shark species in New Smyrna Beach are lemon sharks and blacktip sharks. 

The most common shark species in New Smyrna beach are:

  1. Lemon Sharks
  2. Blacktip sharks
  3. Spinner sharks
  4. Sandbar Sharks
  5. Bull sharks
  6. Nurse Sharks
  7. Tiger Sharks
  8. Hammerhead Shark

Are there Great White Sharks in New Smyrna Beach?

Are there Great White Sharks in New Smyrna Beach?

Great white sharks have been reported off the coast of New Smyrna Beach sometimes in the past. However, reports of Great white sharks in New Smyrna Beach are extremely rare.

In 2019, a 12-foot-long adult white shark named Sydney was pinged off the coast of New Smyrna Beach. Also in 2015, a 14-foot-long white shark named Katharine was reported close to New Smyrna Beach.

Safety Tips to Prevent Shark Attacks

Safety Tips to Avoid Shark Attacks in New Smyrna beach

As I explained earlier, shark attacks in New Smyrna Beach are quite rare and infrequent. However, you should follow some safety precautions to prevent sharks’ unnecessary attention.

Aside from that, another important thing that you should know is that humans are not the natural prey of sharks. Sharks attack humans when they confuse humans with their prey or when they feel provoked by humans. In other words, if you take some basic safety precautions, you can keep sharks at bay.

Here are a few tips for you to prevent shark incidents:

  1. Avoid murky waters. Sharks like to hunt in murky waters.
  2. Do not swim at night or in low light. Some sharks are more active at night or in low light.
  3. Avoid swimming in areas where the river meets the ocean. Such places offer ideal conditions for sharks to hunt.
  4. Don’t wear shiny things like Jewelry as they can get sharks’ unwanted attention.
  5. Don’t swim far away from the coastline. Swim close to the lifeguards and other people.
  6. Don’t swim near fishermen as their bait can get the attention of the sharks

Conclusion

It is true that New Smyrna Beach is home to a wide range of shark species, and it is a place that reports the highest number of shark incidents in the world.

However, when we compare the hundreds of thousands of visitors that come to New Smyrna Beach every year with the number of shark incidents that happen here, you will find that shark attacks are extremely rare and infrequent.

In other words, New Smyrna Beach is safe to swim and explore other water activities. But you should take basic safety precautions, like staying out of murky water, to avoid sharks’ unwanted attention.

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About the author
Chetan Patil
Chetan is a travel enthusiast, who finds solace in traveling. Reading, writing, and sharing about outdoor adventures, culture, and traditions has been his lifelong passion.

1 thought on “Sharks in New Smyrna Beach [2023]: Attacks, Safety, & More!”

  1. They say 17 out of 422000 visitors every year. But out of those visitors less than half probably go into the ocean. So 17 attacks per day 200,000 is a pretty high number.

    Reply

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