How Many Shark Attacks Have There Been In 2016? 'Jaws' Sent A Strong Message, But...

With Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" television event just around the corner, a quick look at shark fatality statistics will go a long way if you happen to be thinking about skipping out on a trip to the beach this summer. Just how many shark attacks have there been in 2016? Halfway through the year, we're looking at slightly better than average statistics.

Even though 2015 saw a record number of non-fatal shark attacks, 2016 is shaping up to be a safer year. According to data from SharkAttackData.com, in the U.S., there have been 21 non-fatal shark attacks and zero fatal attacks so far this year. Data from Oceana, a non-profit dedicated to awareness and protection of our oceans, suggests that the risk of being involved in a fatal shark attack is pretty slim: 0 in 264.1 million.

Experts also say that three common-sense tips can help keep beachgoers safe when swimming in areas where sharks are known to swim. Since sharks tend to be active at dawn, dusk, and night, swimming earlier in the day is your best bet to minimize your risk of sharing the water with a group of sharks. They are also attracted to bright colors, so wearing dark or neutral toned swimwear and activewear will make you look like less appetizing to a shark. Finally (and this is really a no-brainer), don't go swimming with open, bloody wounds.

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With the climate in flux and the food chains in the ocean disrupted by overfishing and man-made chemical spills, natural predators like sharks can be all the more stressed out. It is generally good practice to take sensible precautions like the ones listed above when swimming in the ocean, and of course to heed posted beach closures and advisories.

But at the end of the day, no matter how careful you are, going swimming in the ocean can carry serious risk, even if there aren't any sharks in the area. Don't swim alone, swim perpendicularly to the shore to escape a riptide, and remember that, while having a few drinks at the beach may be nice, swimming impaired can have deadly consequences — you're far more likely to drown accidentally than be killed in a shark attack.

That being said, I'll still only be open-water swimming in lakes, thank you very much. Happy swimming, everyone!