There are so many movies on ocean horrors like Jaws and Piranha that makes the ocean seem terrifying. And although these movies may seem like an exaggeration, it can still be a reality. So before the monsters have a chance to attack, you should know how to avoid them. From shark attacks to jellyfish stings, and terrors from all kinds of dangerous sea creatures, this handy survival guide will arm you with essential knowledge to visit the ocean with some protection and peace of mind.

Shark Attacks

Great white shark at back with surfer in front
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The golden rule to know is not to provoke a shark when you see it. These sharks may just be curious and will simply swim past you if left unprovoked. If you want to get away from it, slowly swim to shore using your arms only as any splashing will only entice them. And make sure you keep your eyes on the shark still. Statistics also indicate that the number of unprovoked shark attacks are small when compared to the millions of people who terrorize their shark space. So avoid invading their personal space and you will be good.

However, it’s good to know that the most dangerous shark is the great white shark that feasts on seals and even small whales. Another is the tiger shark, and they eat almost everything, including debris like tyres and other ocean trash. Finally, the bull shark is adaptable to salt water and freshwater, making it a dangerous predator even in large lakes or rivers.

Shark with lady swimming by its side
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Ways to avoid getting attacked by a shark:

  1. Avoid swimming solo. We all know the story of Blake Lively’s The Shallows. Stay in a group regardless of whether you are scuba-diving, diving or simply swimming. Safety in numbers holds true as sharks often avoid attacking those in a group.
  2. Don’t wear shiny jewellery as it will reflect the sunlight when you are swimming and resemble the scales of a fish.
  3. Avoid splashing around in the waters as erractic movements mimic shoals of fishes and can be mistaken by the sharp-toothed predators.
  4. Don’t entering the ocean if you are bleeding, and don’t pee in the waters too. Sharks can track and trace minute scents of blood right down to its exact source. But mosquito bites don’t count!
  5. Avoid swimming near sand bars, steep drop-offs and fishing boats. These places are sharks’ favourite hideout so make sure you swim within a safe distance from the shore.

What to do if you are attacked:

  1. Don’t panic – avoiding screaming and splashing around as that might agitate the shark.
  2. Counter attack the shark even if it sounds tought. Attacking the shark’s snout, eyes and gills repeatedly will effectively deter them for a short time, giving you enough time to get away. If you have a sharp object on hand, that would be even better to attack them with!
  3. Get out of the water. Once the shark has been distracted, get back to shore or get help from boats that are nearby.


Jellyfish Stings

pink and coral coloured jellyfish
Image Credit: Mathilda Khoo | Unsplash

Jellyfish stings are quite painful and can cause allergic reactions including fever, vomiting, difficulty in breathing and disorientation, if left untreated. It’s best to avoid stepping or picking them up, even when they’re washed ashore on the beach. Species like the box jellyfish and even the tiny immortal jellyfish can still deliver quite a sting. And even dead jellyfish stay venomous as it may still have live nematocysts.

striped brown and white jellyfish
Image Credit: Valdemaras D. | Unsplash

Ways to avoid jellyfish stings:

  1. Stay away from jellyfish-infested waters. Always check the surface of the water for jellyfish before splashing in.
  2. Wear protective gear when diving or swimming if you’re unsure of the water conditions. This includes diving gloves, wet suit or dive skin, and protective mask with goggles. Ensure that these are properly worn and fitted correctly for best protection.
  3. Research on the types of jellyfish that can possibly be in the waters you’re entering. When in doubt, just ask the locals or other swimmers in the area who are familiar with the area.
  4. Expel air when ascending during scuba diving to deter any jellyfish that may be swimming above you.
  5. Bring vinegar on your dive boat, and copious amounts of it, should you need to treat more than one jellyfish sting. Also include a basic first aid kid that has painkillers and antihistamines to treat allergic reactions to the sting.

Treating jellyfish stings:

  1. Immediately rinse with vinegar for at least 30 seconds.
  2. Remove any visible tentacles from affected area carefully using a tweezer.
  3. Apply topical antihistamine to reduce any swelling and discomfort.
  4. Visit a doctor if irritation continues.


Other Dangerous Sea Creatures

black and white striped sea snake swimming in oceans
Image Credit: Jong Marshes | Unsplash

While many ocean creatures may look harmless as they manouvre through the waters, they are in fact not. Another dangerous sea creature is the Banded Sea Krait, or in fact any from the same species. Identified easily with their black and white streaks, Banded Sea Kraits have powerful venomous bites that they use to paralyze their prey with.

brown and white striped spotted fish
Image Credit: David Clode | Unsplash

The Scorpion Fish looks incredibly beautiful but looks can be deceiving. They have erectile spines on their fins which can cause mild to moderate posoining if stung. So be sure to keep a safe distance away from them to avoid getting minute stings that can still be rather painful.

man scuba diving near coral reefs
Image Credit: Fezbot2000

Just as tricky is the Trigger Fish who love to hide in the seabed when guarding their eggs. The best way to avoid them is to keep a lookout for their titan size and sharp, protruding teeth, and avoid disturbing their abode! Avoid crashing into the seabed and reefs where many sea creatures are hiding. The more aggressive ones might just retaliate!

two electric eels hiding amongst rocks
Image Credit: Lance Anderson | Unsplash

Electric eels can generate approximately 600 volts of electricity and give you a serious jolt, making them part of this danger list. Equally deadly are moray eels that will bite when disturbed. So, while eels may be nice to eat, we say leave it to the pros to catch them and serve it to you.

purple pink octopus near rocks
Image Credit: Jeahn Laffitte | Unsplash

Finally, not all octopus or septopus are as lovable as Hank in Finding Dory. So, when clinging to a big rock during an undertow of current, it’s best to check the availability of space on that rock before grabbing it. Thanks to its camouflaging abilities, octopuses hang onto rocks to capture prey. Just don’t let your fingers or any body part be the prey as they scurry past you in a blast of ink.


Additional Survival Tips That May Save Your Life

Snorkling gear with mask and flippers in yellow
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Here are some important tips to survive attacks by sea creatures when under water.

  1. Avoid swimming in murky water as you never know what dangers are lurking there.
  2. Avoid peeing in the water, as the scent may attract unfriendly sea creatures.
  3. Wear prescription goggles if you’re short sighted.
  4. Carry a pointer when diving as it can be used to distract any sea creatures that get up close. It comes in handy when you’re inspecting unsuspecting places before resting on it.


Travel Safe and Stay Protected

two kids playing by the beach
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The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings joy to the soul. An important part of traveling is to ensure that your insurance has got you well covered. Among the best choices is AXA Insurance or FWD Insurance Singapore which offers comprehensive travel insurance for you and your loved ones.

Ready for ocean adventures? Do tell us other ways to avoid danger on the seas and along the beach.

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