I ain’t afraid of no shark

Reef shark, Roatan, Honduras

Unusually close because it was a baited shark dive in Honduras

If you’re like me, one of the first things most people ask when they find out you scuba dive is, “aren’t you afraid of sharks?” I always answer “Oh no, I so rarely see a shark; it’s always exciting, and I swim towards them to get a photo.” They eye me skeptically, so I follow up by saying that I’m more afraid of the stray dogs that live on my street than I am of sharks. So, here are some interesting statistics to share with these dubious folks.

According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), between 1958 and 2016 there were a total of 548 fatalities from sharks. That is an average of 9.45 fatalities per year. Of those fatalities, only 8% were snorkelers or divers (more than half were surfers).

So, what kills more people each year than sharks? Here’s a list that may surprise you:


Mosquitoes – 800,000 worldwide

Hippos – 2900 worldwide

Bees – 100 in the US

Ants – 50 in the US

Jellyfish – 40 worldwide

Dogs – 30 in the US / 25,000 worldwide

Cows – 20 in the US

Horses  – 20 in the US


Texting (while driving) – 2900 in the US

Falling out of bed – 450 in the US

Falling coconuts – 150  worldwide

Popping champagne corks – 24 worldwide

Taking selfies  – 18 worldwide

Falling icicles – 15 in the US


So, now that you’re armed with some statistics, go out and convince all your friends to discover scuba diving!

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