Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog


Thriller movies portray sharks as ferocious predators that aggressively attack and kill innocent swimmers. The truth is much less exciting–or dangerous. The chances of a shark attack are extremely low.

Sharks are not unpredictable, deranged killers. Rather, sharks play an essential part in the ocean’s balance by removing the weak and sick from marine animal populations.

Shark Attacks in Hawaii

Unlike most shark species, tiger sharks, great white sharks, and bull sharks regularly hunt prey that is struggling on the surface and that is approximately the size of a human being.

When seen from below, swimmers and surf-boarders look similar to seals or the fat bodies of a sea turtle.


Splashing creates irregular ripples in the water below, which entice the shark to check out an apparently injured animal. Combining the outline of a person on the surface, the splashing and low visibility in the water make for conditions that would appear as perfect hunting conditions. And despite all that, attacks are extremely rare.

The most common type of Hawaii shark attack is the so-called “hit and run” assault where a shark may test the prey and then release the person immediately. Because humans not part of a shark’s normal diet, they are quickly abandoned for better prey. These shark attacks usually cause leg injuries below the knee and are rarely fatal.

Hawaii Shark Attack Statistics

In 2007, there were only 2 attacks in the state of Hawaii – an all-time low.

In Hawaii, without knowing it, thousands of people come in close contact with sharks each year while swimming, surfing, and boating. Although the rate of shark attacks in Hawaii remains steady at about three per year, the number of people in the water continues to climb. Thus, the number of Hawaii shark attacks is negligible.

Tiger sharks are one of three main shark species known to attack humans and are responsible for most shark attacks in Hawaii. Only about three shark attacks occur per year in Hawaii and few shark attacks are fatal. The Hawaii shark attack rate is surprisingly low considering the thousands of people who swim, surf and dive in Hawaiian waters every day.

Global Shark Attack Statistics

The odds of being attacked by a shark in the US is 1 in 6 million

An average of 100 attacks worldwide with only 10 (average) being lethal.

Compare this ratio to:

★ Odds of falling down the stairs and dying – 1 in 200,000

★ Odds of being struck by lightning – 1 in 4.3 million

★ Odds of drowning in a bathtub – 1 in 800,000

★ Odds of dying in a car accident – 1 in 6,000

More people are killed by:

★ Bees (90-100 people per year)

★ Dogs (about 20 -30 in the US per year)

★ Toasters (about 700+ per year)

★ Falling from a chair or other furniture: (about 650 in US per year)

In contrast, humans kill 23-70 million sharks every year. 

This is the conservative number based on fisheries reports. The real number is most likely 2 to 3 times higher due to illegal and unreported fishing.

Check out websites with verified shark information instead of believing sensationalistic programming on TV.

International Shark Attack File