Where Have Shark Attacks Happened the Most in South Florida?

Amid a recent slew of shark attacks in South Florida, learn more about the history of shark-related incidents in counties near you

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They say the chances of getting attacked by a shark are few and far between—and with the odds being 1 in 3,748,067, this saying certainly proves to be true.

For Florida residents, however, this number is a little bit smaller as the state holds the record for the highest amount of shark attacks in history.

According to the Florida Museum's shark attack file, Florida has experienced 896 shark attacks since 1837, the second leading state of Hawaii has only experienced 182, a drastic decline.

In recent months, this number has grown after a woman was attacked in the Keys on June 29, and another in Keaton Beach just days later.

Researchers expect shark attacks to continue to rise due to the post-pandemic return to beaches as well as global warming's effect on sharks swimming in more shallow waters.

In the wake of these looming shark attacks, here's how many have happened along South Florida shorelines and stories of recent attacks.

Palm Beach County

Since 1882, there have been 81 reported shark attacks in Palm Beach County, the third highest across any county in Florida.

Some notable cases in recent years are:

In May of 2016, a nurse shark attached itself to a 23-year-old woman's arm, causing her to sustain injuries. While there were accounts of the woman provoking the animal, these were denied by the woman's friends. The shark was killed by beachgoers as it would not release itself from the woman's arm.

Shaylen Borkowski, who arrived at a Boca Raton hospital with a nurse shark attached to her arm, is released from the hospital.

A man was hospitalized after being bit by a bull shark off the coast of Jupiter as he was spearfishing for cobia. While he was bitten in the upper torso area three miles from the coast, he was able to rush back to his boat and receive medical attention quickly.

A man is bitten by a shark off Jupiter in one of three incidents involving sharks in South Florida.

Miami-Dade County

In Miami-Dade County, there have been 19 unprompted shark attacks since 1882.

Some notable cases in recent years are:

As he was on vacation to Florida from California in October 2020, Mark Bowden was bitten by a blacktip shark in Miami Beach. The shark bit him below his knee, causing him to go into shock before receiving medical attention.

The man who got bit by a shark on Miami Beach has been released from the hospital. NBC 6's Jamie Guirola reports.

In July 2017, a man was bitten by a bull shark in Haulover Beach as he was exiting the water. He suffered injuries on both legs, and had to kick the shark to force it to release its grasp on him.

Elvin Lanza speaks days after he survived a shark attack at Haulover Beach.

Monroe County

There have been 17 unprompted shark attacks in Monroe County since 1882.

Some notable cases within recent years are:

On June 29, a Texas woman was attacked by a shark while swimming in the Florida Keys and underwent multiple surgeries. While the woman is expected to regain most of her leg function, it is unknown what shark attacked her.

NBC 6's Alyssa Hyman reports on the 911 call and police report of a woman that got bit by a shark in the Florida Keys

On August 7, 2021, 15-year-old Lucas Cruz was celebrating his birthday by lobster diving in the Florida Keys. As he was diving, he was bitten by a shark from his ankle to the top of his thigh, sustained injuries to both legs, and lost 70% of his blood. Though his doctor said he was close to death, he started physical therapy and had multiple surgeries to regain mobility.

A teen got bit by a shark on his birthday - and lived to tell the tale. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo reports

Broward County

Since 1882, there have been 16 unprompted shark attacks in Broward County.

Some notable cases within recent years are:

As he was surfing at Deerfield Beach in 2015, Peter Kirn was bitten by a spinner shark on his foot. While the bite was minor and did not reach the bone, Kirn was in extensive pain and was hospitalized as a result.

Surfer Peter Kirn discusses being bitten by a shark off Deerfield Beach.

In June 2014, 22-year-old Jessica Vaughn was bit by a shark while tubing in Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway. The shark bit her in her leg and was just inches from causing serious damage to her key arteries and veins.

NBC 6’s Christina Hernandez has details from a press conference held by the survivor of a shark attack in Fort Lauderdale Intracaostal Waterway on Sunday.

How to avoid shark attacks

While reading about shark attacks in our own state can be scary and alarming, there are many ways to reduce the risk of being a victim of a shark-related incident.

During activities such as swimming, diving, fishing and boating in the ocean, it is important to remember the following tips to protect against a dangerous encounter with a shark:

  • Stay in a group or with a buddy
  • Do not wander far from shore, and know an escape plan if you do
  • Avoid being in water at night as this is when sharks are most active
  • Stay out of the water if bleeding from an open wound
  • Avoid wearing shiny and reflective jewelry
  • Do not swim in areas used by commercial anglers
  • Be aware of hazard levels in the areas you are visiting
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