After fatal shark attack in Bahamas should you be concerned in Florida waters?

A Boston woman visiting the Bahamas was killed by a shark Monday.

The 44-year-old woman was less than a mile from shore when she was attacked, said Royal Bahamas Police Sgt. Desiree Ferguson.

Sharks aren't uncommon off Florida and around the Bahamas. Ocearch is in the process of Seaside Expedition "to help solve, for the first time, the life history of the white shark in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean."

What happened in the fatal Bahamas shark attack?

The 44-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, was less than a mile from the shoreline of a Sandals resort when she was attacked, said Royal Bahamas Police Sgt. Desiree Ferguson.

A lifeguard saw what happened, got in a rescue boat and brought the woman, along with a male relative who was uninjured, back to the shore of New Providence, an island in the Bahamas.

"CPR was administered to the victim; however, she suffered serious injuries to the right side of her body, including the right hip region and also her right upper limb," said Ferguson.

Medical technicians determined that the woman died at the scene, according to a news release from the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

Authorities have not said what kind of shark attacked the woman.

Where is New Providence, Bahamas?

New Providence is located about 180 miles east-southeast of Miami.

White shark Keji pinged off Florida Nov. 30

White Shark Keji pinged off St. Augustine Nov. 30, 2023. Keji was tagged by Ocearch Sept. 22, 2021, off Ironbound Island, Nova Scotia.
White Shark Keji pinged off St. Augustine Nov. 30, 2023. Keji was tagged by Ocearch Sept. 22, 2021, off Ironbound Island, Nova Scotia.

Sharks are common along Florida's coast, both in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Most recently, white shark Keji pinged at 9:42 p.m. Nov. 30 southeast of St. Augustine, northeast of Daytona Beach. He hasn't been heard from since then.

Earlier in the month, female white shark Andromache pinged far off the coast of Southwest Florida, just below Marco Island at 7:22 p.m.

Have other sharks pinged off Florida recently?

As part of its research, Ocearch tags a shark with a satellite receiver. Whenever the shark's dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water, a signal is sent to a satellite, allowing people to follow where the shark is on Ocearch's website.

No sharks tagged by Ocearch have pinged since Keji off Florida.

The closest pings have been off South Carolina:

  • White shark Mahone: Dec. 3, 7:33 a.m. 13 feet 7 inches, 1,701 pounds

  • White shark Scot: Dec. 1, 8:23 a.m. 12 feet 3 inches, 1,644 pounds

  • White shark Penny: Nov. 29, 3:59 p.m. 10 feet 3 inches, 522 pounds

What are the chances of being attacked by a shark?

The chances of being bitten by a shark are very small — 1 in 3.7 million — compared to other animal encounters, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers, according to the Florida Museum.

That doesn't mean they don't happen.

A shark sank its teeth into Steven Reinhardt’s right arm Nov. 5 on what became the most painful of all of the Palm Beach Gardens man's morning swims. Reinhardt underwent two surgeries to close the wounds on his arm, which the shark ripped up from his biceps to his wrist. Surgeons grafted a patch of skin from his right leg for the closures.

Are there a lot of shark attacks in Florida?

Florida has ranked No. 1 in the number of shark bites for decades. Florida’s 16 cases in 2022 represent 39% of the U.S. total and 28% of unprovoked bites worldwide, according to the Florida Museum. Florida’s most recent five-year annual average is 22 incidents.

There have been 20 reported cases in Florida so far this year, according to, none fatal.

Of the 16 unprovoked shark attacks in 2022, seven occurred in Volusia County, followed by four in Monroe County and one each in Martin, Nassau, Pinellas, Brevard and Palm Beach counties.

Recent shark attacks around the world

Last year, there were 57 unprovoked bites around the planet, the majority of them in the U.S., according to the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark File, which maintains a running database of shark attacks.

According to, as of Dec. 5, there have been 79 shark bites this year, nine provoked and 12 fatal, that have been publicly reported and verified.

In the U.S., there have been 40. Twenty in Florida, five in Hawaii, two in California, six in New York, and three in South Carolina. Two were provoked, one in California was fatal.

Since 1580, there have been at least 33 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in the Bahamas, the shark file says.

Can you avoid a shark attack?

Although the relative risk of a shark bite is very small, there are way to minimize the risks, according to the Florida Museum:

  1. Always stay with a buddy, since sharks are more likely to approach a solitary individual.

  2. Do not wander too far from shore. Being far from shore also isolates you from any emergency assistance.

  3. Exercise caution when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep dropoffs, these are favorite hangouts for sharks.

  4. Avoid being in the water during low light hours (dawn or dusk) and at night when many sharks are most active and feeding.

  5. Sharks have never been shown to be attracted to the smell of human blood, however, it may still be advisable to stay out of the water if bleeding from an open wound. Menstrual blood in the water could be detected by a shark, just like any urine or other bodily fluids.  However, there is no positive evidence that menstruation is a factor in shark bites.

  6. Wearing shiny jewelry is discouraged because the reflected light may resemble the sheen of fish scales.

  7. Avoid areas with known effluents or sewage and those being used by sport or commercial anglers, especially if there are signs of bait fishes or feeding activity. Diving seabirds are good indicators of these fishes’ presence.

  8. Avoid water being used by recreational or commercial anglers.

  9. Sightings of porpoises or dolphins do not indicate the absence of sharks, both often eat the same food items.

  10. Use extra caution when waters are murky, some shark species will have just as much trouble seeing as you.

  11. Avoid uneven tanning, bright-colored and/or high contrasting clothing, sharks see contrast particularly well.

  12. Refrain from excess splashing, particularly in a single spot. Sharks can hear the low-frequency sounds from splashing and may investigate to see if there is a fish/prey in distress.

  13. Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present. Slowly and calmly evacuate the water if sharks are seen.

Christopher Cann, breaking news reporter for USA TODAY, contributed to this report. 

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Bahamas fatal shark attack. What to know, minimize risks in Florida