People come to the ocean every year and ask the same question: Are there sharks?
The short answer to that is a simple yes. It’s the ocean, so there are all kinds of things in it and sharks are there, too. But they probably won’t hurt you. In fact, your chance of being struck by lightning is higher than your chance of even encountering a shark. They’re way more interested in a juicy fish than a happy vacationer. So there’s no need to worry about getting into an encounter with a shark while swimming or playing in the ocean during an Edisto Beach vacation.
Most of the sharks in the shallow waters where humans swim are small blacktips and sand sharks, but this doesn’t mean they are everywhere; it just means that they could be in the water doing their own thing. It also doesn’t mean that the full grown versions of these sharks are in the water. Often times the young smaller sharks will be in shallow waters until they are big enough to hold their own in the deep end, so to speak.
Also, by ‘shallow water’ that means less than 90 feet deep, not knee, waist, or shoulder deep water that people swim in.
Blacktip sharks like to be in water that is less than 100 ft deep, but that doesn’t mean they like to swim in the surf (where the waves break). They prefer lagoons, deep water around coral reefs, and muddy bays. They also migrate to North Carolina during the summer and Florida in the winter, so rest assured that they don’t even really want to be in South Carolina.
Sand sharks like to stay in caves or near cliffs during the day, but they come out at night to hunt small fish. Young sand sharks might be in shallow water where swimmers are, but as a matter of self-preservation they do not want to take on anything bigger than they are, which means humans are in the clear.
In addition to these smaller sharks, there are threshers, makos, hammerheads, and tiger sharks. These sharks tend to be in deep water or near reefs, harbors, and canals.
Many times, vacationers will see fins while swimming and instantly think that those fins are a shark. However, they’re actually the fins of dolphins, which is a good thing as dolphins generally ward off sharks. Sharks may have strong teeth, but dolphins can provide a whack to the head with their incredibly strong tails and they use their beaks to jab the gills of a shark, which causes them to drown.
Instead of being scared of sharks, it’s better to remember that the ocean is their home and should be respected.