Don’t let sharks change your summer plans

Tourists shouldn’t plan their summer vacations based on news headlines!

Tourism season is upon us. Children are out of school for the summer months. Families are preparing for trips to the ocean. Shark attacks have been making headlines again in the evening news after two adolescents were attacked off North Carolina’s coast earlier this month. But how likely are you really to be attacked by a shark?

Just last year, North Carolina had only four shark attacks, according to recent data presented by ABC news. Florida had 28 attacks last year, the most for any state. Hawaii was second with seven, and Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all had just one. Compare these numbers to the number of people that enter the ocean on a daily basis and the results will more than likely clarify and confirm that your chances of being bitten or mauled by a shark are practically 0!

The Washington Post’s recently reported numbers from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) animal-caused fatality figures from 2001-2013. According to the CDC,

  • Sharks (and alligators and bears too!) kill one person per year
  • Venomous snakes and lizards kill six people per year
  • Cows kill 20 people per year
  • Dogs kill 28 people per year
  • Bees, Wasps, and Hornets kill 58 people per year

However, the real killers are not sharks, cows, or bees, but disease and motor vehicles. The CDC reports motor vehicles account for 33,000 traffic deaths each year. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. It is said to be responsible for nearly 610,000 deaths annually, which is one in four deaths, according to the CDC.

Keeping this in mind, for this year’s travel, keep an eye out for dogs and bees while walking to the ocean beach for a swim! If you are headed to Michigan’s beaches then worrying about sharks is something you don’t have to think about!

Michigan State University Extension provides tourism related training and education locations around the state. In addition, Extension also has a number of programs in areas related to health, nutrition, agriculture, and community and economic development.

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