Sure, sharks are dangerous ... but should you be afraid?
Myrtle Beach Sharks

Myrtle Beach
shark attacks

Horror or hype?

By MyrtleBeach.com
January 15, 2019

With several bites in the Carolinas making headlines recently, many Grand Strand visitors are concerned that the coast has become a feeding frenzy for predatory sharks. However, despite these well-publicized incidents, the truth is that the threat of shark attacks in Myrtle Beach remains remarkably low.

In fact, there have been only about 50 shark attacks total recorded over the past century on local beaches and not a single fatal attack since 1852. With more than 15 million visitors to the area each year, this means the odds of being bit by a shark in Myrtle Beach this year are roughly 1 in 4,000,000 — about five times less likely than your odds of being struck by lightining while standing on the beach.

Still worried? Here are some more interesting statistics, facts and trivia that should help clear up the hype and misconceptions about sharks in Myrtle Beach:

Myrtle Beach Sharks Water

Shark Attacks in South Carolina

Though there are nearly 40 species of shark that call our waters home, the risk of bites or shark attacks in South Carolina remains low. Because the continental shelf runs about 50 miles offshore in North Myrtle Beach, the estuaries where the sharks gather to breed and feed are generally much farther away from visitors here than in places like Florida where the shelf is just 1 mile from shore at some beaches.

Myrtle Beach Sharks Map
By County

Of the 82 recorded shark attacks in S.C., only 35 percent have occurred in Horry County. The highest number of attacks have occurred in the Charleston area, including the only two fatal incidents on record.

Number of Shark attacks in S.C. by year, 2001-2014
Roll over chart to see full breakdown
By Year

Both in South Carolina and worldwide, the number of unprovoked shark attacks has grown at a steady pace since 1900, with each decade having more attacks than the previous. This growth in shark interactions does not necessarily reflect an increase in the rate of shark attacks, though, as it most likely reflects the growing overall human population and the ever-increasing amount of time spent in the water by humans.

Myrtle Beach Sharks Water

What's deadlier than a shark?

Despite the false perception that sharks are killing machines, sharks actually kill less than one person in the U.S. each year. Here are some of the things that are responsible for more deaths than sharks each year, worldwide:

texting
6,000

Number of people killed by texting

hippo
2,900

Number of people killed by hippos

deer
130

Number of people killed by deer

hot dog
70

# of children killed by hot dogs

jellyfish
40

Number of people killed by jellyfish

dog
30

Number of people killed by dogs

ant
30

Number of people killed by ants

cows
25

Number of people killed by cows

horses
20

Number of people killed by horses

vending machine
13

Number killed by vending machines

fireworks
11

Number who die in fireworks accidents

shark
5

Number of shark attack deaths

Myrtle Beach Sharks water

Tips for avoiding a shark bite

To reduce your already miniscule odds of being bitten, here are a few quick tips on how to avoid an encounter:

Myrtle Beach Sharks fin
1. Avoid the ocean during storms.

Storms can make the water cloudy and churn up the bait fish that lead sharks to feed.

2. Don't swim when it's dark.

Because visibility is low at dawn and dusk, sharks could easily mistake a human for prey.

3. Stay away from piers.

Swimming near areas where prey are plentiful can be dangerous. Fishermen often dump bait or guts, which can also attract sharks.

4. Stay away from shark hotspots.

Avoid steep drop-offs and the areas between sandbars. These are among sharks' favorite places to hunt for prey and breed.

5. Move gracefully.

Avoid splashing on the surface of the water, and try to swim smoothly at all times. Avoid sudden or erratic movements when in the presence of sharks, as these may draw attention to you and, worse yet, give you the appearance of being wounded.

6. Stay away from turbulent water.

Choppy water can stir up prey and affect visibility for sharks. The waves in Myrtle Beach are generally calm compared with Florida and California.

7. Stay in a group.

Always try and stay in a group when you are swimming in the ocean. Sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.

Myrtle Beach Sharks
8. Heed warnings.

Coastal areas where sharks have recently been will often have posted warnings, and even in the absence of these, locals may be able to alert you to potential dangers. Stay out of the water if warned to do so.

9. Avoid wearing jewelry.

Shiny jewelry worn while swimming can cause reflections that can be mistaken for a wounded fish.

10. Don't be afraid to fight back.

If a shark does attempt to bite you, don't remain still. Sharks respond to power and are more likely to flee if you fight back by hitting them in the nose, eyes or gills.

Myrtle Beach Sharks water

Who's Biting & Who's Getting Bit?

According to the International Shark Attack File, there have been more than 1,800 unprovoked shark attacks in the period between 1900-2010. Here's a breakdown of the attackers and victims of these incidents:

By Victim Activity

The highest number of shark attack victims are classified "surface recreationalists," meaning they were surfing or floating atop the water on a board or floatation device when bitten. Swimmers, bathers and waders account for the majority of the rest of attacks.

Roll over chart to see full breakdown
By Shark Type

White, tiger and bull sharks account for the majority of attacks because they are large species and are commonly found in areas where humans enter the water. In all, 34 species have been involved in the 828 attacks where victims have identified their attacker.

Myrtle Beach Sharks fin
Myrtle Beach Sharks water

Shark Attack Facts: Did you know?

Here are a few interesting facts about sharks and shark attacks in Myrtle Beach. Test your knowledge of these creatures below:

Myrtle Beach Sharks attacks
Question #1

The 2014 yearly total of unprovoked shark attacks worldwide was 72, according to the International Shark Attack File. Was this more or less than the previous year?

Question #2

On average, five people die from shark attacks worldwide each year. How many shark attack deaths have been reported thus far in 2015?

Question #3

Despite their deadly reputation, sharks are actually significantly less dangerous to humans than we are to them. How many sharks are killed each year by humans?

Question #4

In 2014, the largest portion of reported shark attacks (62.5%) occurred in the United States. What country had the next highest number of attacks reported?

Question #5

Of all shark attacks reported in the United States in 2014, Florida had the largest percentage (54%) of incidents. Which state had the next highest number of attacks?

Question #6

Based on data over the past 100 years from the International Shark Attack File, which gender accounts for the majority of victims in shark attacks?

Myrtle Beach Sharks water

Shark attractions in Myrtle Beach

Though we may not have many shark attacks in Myrtle Beach, there's no doubt sharks have put their stamp on the Grand Strand. Here's a look at 8 great shark-themed attractions and places where you can find sharks in the area:

Myrtle Beach Sharks Ripleys
Ripley's Aquarium

Not only can you see several varieties of shark as you move through the dangerous reef attraction, but you can even get up close and personal and touch a shark here.

Read more »
Myrtle Beach Landshark
LandShark Bar & Grill

So, you probably won't spot any predators here, but you can enjoy a bite to eat with an oceanfront view and enjoy a tasty LandShark Lager while you're at it.

Read more »
Mako's Oceanfront Bar & Grill
Mako's Oceanfront Bar & Grill

Located at The Reef Resort, this beach bar and restaurant not only has an oceanfront view, but also offers meals to satisfy even the most furious feeding frenzy. The restaurant challenges any visitor to finsh its humungous Jaws Burger within 30 minutes for a free T-shirt and free meal. This heartstopping 2-lb. burger is topped with French fries, bacon, chili, a fried egg, onion, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, American, Swiss, cheddar and nacho cheese.

Myrtle Beach Malibu's
Malibu's Surf Bar

This popular Broadway at the Beach nightclub features a beachy, surfing theme complete with an outdoor tiki bar and a enormous shark head coming out of the stage where the DJs spin their tunes.

Read more »
Myrtle Beach Rally Sharks
Rally Shark

One of the most family friendly attractions in town, The Myrtle Beach Pelicans not only have a beach-themed seating area full of sand, but they also have a shark for a mascot. Known as "Rally Shark" this lovable character brings lots of fun between innings with his best pal, Splash the Pelican.

Read more »
Bargain Beachwear Stores
Bargain Beachwear Stores

The honor of largest shark in town —  and perhaps the world —  belongs to the enormous creatures that make up the entrance to these beachy shopping centers. You can find them both in North Myrtle Beach and Garden City.

Salty The Shark
Salty The Shark

Make a visit to one of the area's most popular hotels, Captain's Quarters Resort, and you're sure to run into the property's mascot, Salty, hanging by the pool and posing for photos with guests.

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Shark Fishing Charters Second Avenue Pier
Get your photo with a shark!

There are a pair of popular photo spots in town, one at Second Avenue Pier and another at the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk where visitors can pose next to the "catch of the day" — a huge shark. Luckily, these sharks won't bite (they're not real!), but they will make for fun vacation memories.