Kayaking is a wonderful activity for those who enjoy the outdoors. The premise is simple: paddle on the water and enjoy nature. But then, paddling a Kayak is done at sea—where there could be sharks nearby. Sharks who smell even the faintest drop of blood or sweat from far away. And this is the reason why your question: “Do sharks attack kayaks?” will be answered in more detail as you continue reading this blog post.
You’ll learn how to prevent an attack, how to know when a shark is nearby, and especially, how to protect yourself if you ever get attacked by a shark.
Do Sharks Attack Kayaks?
Sharks have attacked kayaks. I don’t mean that sharks sometimes look at kayaks and decide not to attack them. I mean sharks have been observed attacking kayaks. The sharks are not all that picky, either. They will bite almost anything, including boats, surfboards, and nearby sharks!
Do not take this lightly. Kayaking is a dangerous sport, and if you plan to do it, you should be prepared for the possibility of a shark attack.
Sharks can attack kayaks, and they can do it in several ways.
- The most common way is for the shark to attack from below; They can attack from below, rising beneath you like a missile and hitting your hull with a bite; sometimes they successfully break it.
- They can attack from above, striking the underside of your deck, usually breaking it.
- They can attack from behind, biting into your rudder or propeller, sometimes breaking them.
- They can attack from the side, hitting the outer shell of your kayak and usually breaking it.
- They can attack by hitting you with their snout or their tail fin; these attacks are more common than you would think, but rarely happen without breaking anything. Because the force is concentrated along a narrow line rather than being spread out over the whole surface of your hull (this is why boats have “bulletproof” windows in the front).
- They may simply bump you, knocking you into a rock or off-balance so that you fall out of your kayak and into the water.”
Many sharks have a sophisticated strategy for catching prey in mid-water. They make a series of rapid, S-shaped attacks, with their back end swinging around so that as they eat their head moves forward.
What if a Shark Attacks?
The most important thing is to keep your wits about you. You need to stay calm. If you start freaking out, the shark will sense your panic and attack. The shark will also attack if it thinks you are weak or injured. If you can stand up, stay standing. Do not make any sudden movements that would make the shark think you are prey.
If you are already in the water, climb onto whatever floating object is closest to you. If you cannot do that for some reason, then tread the water as calmly as possible. Either way, Remain facing the shark so it knows you are not a source of food. You can try to appear larger than it does by spreading your limbs and waving your arms slowly above the water in a straight horizontal line. This will make it think you look like a larger animal; it will not attack unless it thinks eating you will be profitable for it.
Sharks are attracted by thrashing, splashing, and erratic behaviour. The best way to avoid shark attacks is to try to avoid putting yourself into situations where sharks might be. This means staying out of the water when you see them or have reason to believe they are in the area.
The worst time for a shark attack is at dusk and dawn when sharks feed. It is also possible that if you are bleeding you may be more at risk.
Remember, try to remain motionless while floating on your back. Conserve air by breathing slowly and avoiding unnecessary movement. Fighting back will only make a shark more aggressive; they mistake splashing and thrashing for signs of an injured animal trying desperately to escape.
If you are on your kayak, gently move away from the situation. If you are swimming, maybe your boots fell over, and you can’t float on your back, float as much as possible with your feet. If there isn’t enough water to float, tread water with one arm extended above your head so that it looks like a shark fin sticking out of the water. Whatever you do, don’t panic; this will put the shark into predator mode and increase its attack mode. If necessary, swim backwards very slowly in a zigzag pattern to get away from the shark without startling it.
Sharks prefer to avoid humans, however. Most incidents are preventable: people get hurt because they do things like swim in areas known for sharks or dive into murky waters where their visibility is obvious.
How to Defend Yourself against a Shark Attack?
If you are being attacked, the first thing to do is to put on a show of strength. Hit the shark in the face and gills. That will probably make it retreat, at least temporarily. If you don’t have anything to hit it with, splash it with your hands or feet. Make lots of noise. Wave your arms around. Get its attention. But, make sure that in the process, you look powerful, not vulnerable.
Trying to hide will only work if you are small enough and lucky enough to have found a hiding place that the shark cannot get into—for example, if you can find a hole or cave. But most people who have been attacked by a shark were near shore in shallow water, where all the hiding places would have been obvious to the shark anyway.
If you have to, keep hitting the shark in the nose, eyes, and gills. Because the great white has no real bones, its eyes and gills are protected only by thin and fragile membranes. Hitting it there hard enough may stun it long enough for you to swim away to safety.
As mentioned earlier, the fact is, sharks rarely attack humans; they much prefer fish. And when they do attack humans they usually just bite once and swim away. It’s not as if they have any real interest in eating you or anything like that.
Use a hard object like a surfboard, paddle or sandal – never punch with your bare fist – unless you have no other choice; you could lose fingers or hands that way. And that’s even If you manage to hit it hard enough.
How to Know if a Shark Is around?
To determine if there are sharks in the area, experts recommend watching for birds that dive or fish that jump at unusual times, such as right after dawn or just before dusk. It is also possible to determine whether a shark is nearby by observing the water’s colour, as well as its clarity. Clearwater allows sharks to see better and they are more likely to attack in these conditions. The colour of the water may offer some indication of the presence of baitfish, which may attract sharks
Keep away from fishing sites and piers because the smell of bait and struggling fish can attract sharks; this also goes for swimmers who have fish blood or scraps on their body or bathing suit.
The water’s clarity (or lack of) will determine how well a shark can see. A cloudy day is better than a sunny one.
Why Do Sharks Attack Kayaks?
Most sharks don’t attack kayakers out of aggression, but rather they are likely to mistake them as prey. Sharks have a sensory organ called a “lateral line” which runs along their sides that acts like sonar to detect their prey. When a kayak paddles through the water, it creates more noise than a swimming human, which may attract sharks by activating their lateral line. Another reason why sharks may attack kayaks is that when one is paddling alone he/she leaves behind a scent trail due to sweat and bodily fluids. This trail can then attract the shark from afar.
There are many different species of shark, but there are only two main types that will attack humans: great white sharks and bull sharks. Although sharks typically avoid humans, they may attack in the following instances:
- When the shark is provoked by trailblazing kayakers.
- The shark might see your kayak as a rival, and attack to drive you away from its territory. Or maybe your kayak is too big for the waters the shark considers its territory, so it thinks of your kayak as an invader.
- When the shark mistakes a kayaker for its favourite food, seals or sea lions.
- When the shark mistakes a kayaker for a much larger animal, such as a seahorse or a whale.
- When the shark mistakes a kayak for another shark.
- The distance between the kayak and the shark is crucial during an attack. A shark is more likely to attack within a range of 50 meters (150 feet). The closer the shark gets to its target, the greater the chance that an attack will take place.
- Shark attacks are also more likely to occur when a person is alone on the water.
- You should also avoid travelling at night, as it will be more difficult to see approaching sharks.
- Sharks can smell one drop of blood diluted in 10 million drops of water. If you are cruising on a kayak with an injury, you may want to watch your back.
If a shark spots a person in a kayak, it may be tempted to try to jump up and bite him or her. The degree of risk depends on how much the shark likes you.
What Color Kayaks Attract Sharks?
There is a common myth that sharks can see any colour. It has been said that sharks are attracted to the colour yellow for this reason. Yet, it has since been proven that most sharks are colourblind.
You may already be familiar with the notion that some species of sharks are attracted to the colour yellow, but you may not know why. They are curious creatures and like to investigate things that catch their attention. Most sharks are colourblind, which means they cannot see the difference between reds, oranges, yellows, and other colours. The only colour a shark can see is a shade of grey. The reason sharks are drawn to the colour yellow is because of how it contrasts with the blue-green ocean water around it. Flowers in the water will not draw a shark because they blend in with their surroundings.
To learn more about how sharks see the world, several Australian shark experts devised a study. Using a microspectrophotometer, the researchers measured light-sensitive cells in the eyes of a variety of shark species. The human visual system is trichromatic, meaning that humans have three types of colour cones sensitive to blue, green, and red light. When signals from these cones are compared, colour vision is achieved. However, in his book, Why human eyes sense in colour, Mark Changizi observed that sharks had one type of cone cell in their eyes; this suggests that traditional colour vision tests would fail to identify whether or not sharks have colour vision.
The U.S. Navy discovered that certain shark species are drawn to yellow, which caused them to change the colour of their sailors’ life vests. Colin Simpfendorfer’s book on overfishing deep-sea sharks makes a case when he says we can never know precisely what a shark sees. He suggests that they appear able to distinguish an item by its contrast against a background. This might help scientists develop shark-resistant long-line fishing lures. According to Dr. Hart, understanding shark eyesight could prevent attacks on humans. Bull sharks, for instance—which swim in shallow muddy water—are responsible for many of the attacks on people.
Using this new knowledge about how sharks see their surroundings, it may be possible to design swimming clothing and surf boats that are less visually conspicuous; this would reduce the chances of a shark being drawn to examine an “unexpected stimuli” and possibly, thereby, reducing the number of attacks on swimmers.
As you can see, shark attacks are not a particular type of shark’s speciality. Each species of shark has its favourite prey and will attack all sorts of vessels, though they tend to prefer boats over kayaks because they’re bigger and slower. Don’t worry, you can make yourself safer by following the safety precautions listed above, in this article. Stay safe!