Will The Fear Of Recent Shark Attacks At Oak Island, N.C., Keep You On The Shore?

Will The Fear Of Recent Shark Attacks At Oak Island, N.C., Keep You On The Shore…

Why did a shark attack 2 swimmers at my hometown beach, Oak Island, N.C.? Unless someone has been living under a rock or living outside of the US, you’ve most likely heard snippets of the tragic events that occurred Sunday. How does an otherwise normal, ordinary fun, sunny day at the beach turn to sheer terror in water? 

Like something straight from the movies, surreal, but very real. Two separate shark attacks on the same beach, two miles apart in waist deep water! How does this happen?

Thank God, Charlotte paramedic, Marie Hildreth, was at the right place, at the right time to save a life. She saw the attack and wasted no time making a tourniquet, even using the strings from a boogie board until EMS arrived on the scene.  

UPDATE 

Marie Hildreth
Charlotte Paramedic, Marie Hildreth, photo courtesy Fox News

The courageous victims were airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center Hospital in Wilmington in critical condition. The first victim attacked was thirteen year old North Carolina girl, Kiersten Yow. On Monday she was transferred to N.C. Children’s Hospital at UNC where, she remains in stable condition. Her arm was amputated at the elbow, and she has suffered significant tissue damage to her leg, but with surgeries and rehabilitations, her doctors expect her to keep her leg.

Around 90 minutes later, the second shark attack happens in close proximity, about 2 miles up the beach from the first attack. Sixteen year old Hunter Treschel, from Colorado Springs was released from the hospital Wednesday to return to his home in Colorado. Although Hunter lost his arm below the shoulder, he is positive and in good spirits posting five Facebook videos about the attack from his hospital room

I am grateful Hunter and Kiersten are both recovering.

Shark experts’ studies point to the rise of shark sightings off the The Atlantic Coast due to a growing population of sharks. In 1997 a conservative law measure became effective that tempers and prevents great white shark hunting. In my humble unscientific opinion, maybe it’s time to reform or update that law.

Other shark authorities claim increased fishing activity off the piers attract the beasts. The Oak Island officials have now banned all shark fishing from the pier. Call me crazy, but why was shark fishing ever allowed, considering surfers and swimmers are always in the ocean near the piers. My favorite spot to swim was always near this pier – at this very same pier. Yes, this is my hometown beach, where I learned to surf a little, swim a lot, work a waterslide park and lifeguard. Never have I felt fear at this familiar beach.

Oak Island Beach, NC
Oak Island Beach, NC

Will you return to the sea as normal or retreat to the hot, balmy shoreline? The ocean is a treasure that we share with the sea life. They have their place and we have ours. We can co-exist together, sharing the same sea.

                         A Few Tips I Learned In Life Guard Training – Safety Tips 

  • Don’t wear shiny jewelry in the ocean (big no-no) and opt for dark color swimwear and (avoid yellow). Sharks see in shades of black and white not color, but use contrast to distinguish objects of interest.
  • Swim in locations where authorities are watching and patrolling for life safety and emergencies.
  • Stay in waters with groups of other people, high activity usually defers attacks. There is more safety in numbers.
  • Stay out of the ocean after a heavy rainfall or storm. Bait fish get stirred up and sharks go after them to feed.
  • Don’t swim near drop-offs points to deeper waters, like a river mouth. Sharks inhabit these kinds of areas.
  • The basic rule of thumb (I always follow) – don’t swim at dawn, dusk or night.
  • Leave the water quickly, but calmly if you start to see large schools, jump out of the water or start to behave erratically or strange. It is usually because they sense a predatory shark.
  • When swimming in deep water (which I love), try to swim with smooth moves. Don’t splash a lot and bring attention to yourself in the water.
  • The danger heightens when you swim in deep waters, where we enjoy skiing, swimming and many other water activities, however the chances increase for a shark encounter.
  • If a shark should begin to approach you, (if you don’t have a heart attack first), be ready to defend yourself! If contact occurs, keep your sight on the shark, and try gouging his eyes out with your fingers and bang on its nose. Fight!

Fear is a strong emotion, but Love is even stronger. The lifestyle of ocean lovers centers around the beach and the water. I hope you will continue to embrace what you love while exercising a little wisdom. There are risks in everything in life. What will you do, stay on the shore or jump back in the water? Love it or leave it? 

Tomorrow is the first official day of summer, Enjoy the Summer! 

And Happy Father’s Day 🙂 

Happy trails,
Donna George

9 thoughts on “Will The Fear Of Recent Shark Attacks At Oak Island, N.C., Keep You On The Shore?

  1. Thanks for sharing. I will always love the beach, the safety tips are good, especially the jewelry, remember when you fish you use those shiny lures to attract what lurks in the deep blue. I like to refer to statistics when thinking about this as I used to tell my mother who always cautioned me about everything in life….I could be sitting on the front porch finger painting and be run over by a semi truck, so when God is ready for me he will take me. Not that I overly careless, but these are the stats: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/attacks/relarisklifetime.html

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ocracroke was my beach love. Having recently returned to the high desert…I have watched the news of the shark attacks from afar. It would have been a heart wrenching very difficult choice to have had to make this year were if I back at Ocracroke.

    My prayers to those who were bitten.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The great news is all the victims are recovering well. No fatalities, thank God. Ocracroke Island is north of the beach I’m on, but the very beautiful. I can see how you would love it. They’ve had a tough season for sharks, even more than us here.

    Liked by 1 person

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