Dangerous Math: Would You Survive a Shark Attack

July 5, 2019

Aussie Pro surfer, Mick Fanning, grabbed world attention when he was attacked by a shark in the Fanning J-Bay Open, South Africa on Sunday 19 July, 2015. Fanning was knocked off his board and forced to fight for his life. He survived. News.com

1 Mick fanning shark attack

One shark expert suggested the shark was a young great white shark under 3.5 m or 12 ft.

Would you survive a shark attack?

Let’s do the maths.

How fast can a shark swim?

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History:The torpedo shape of the great white is built for speed: up to 35 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour). And then there are the teeth — 300 total in up to seven rows.

How fast can you swim?

According to Junior Olympic Games Qualifying Times 2015

For 13-14 yo 100m or 328 ft freestyle:

t girl = 1.15 or 75sec

t boy =1.10. Or 70 sec

Let’s assume you are an average swimmer but highly motivated on seeing a shark:

t kid = 100 secs

So you can swim 100m (328 ft) in 100 sec. But will you survive??????

 Surf Lesson Bluey’s Beach NSW 2009

We’re sooo tough in Australia! Shark, Smark! Whatever.

Picture from Daily Telegraph

Also according to the Smithsonian: Sharks can detect both the direction and amount of movement made by prey, even from as far as 820 feet (250 meters) away.

But there is hope as, according to the National Geographic Channel, Most shark attacks occur less than 100 feet or 30.5 m from the shore mainly around popular beaches in North America (especially Florida and Hawaii), Australia, and South Africa. 
3 Shark attack diagram Mathspig

4 shark attack maths mathspig

If average swimmer Dav is 100 ft (30 m) offshore and starts swimming when he sees the shark 820 ft (250 m) away, he would swim 63 ft (19.2 m) before the shark attacked. He is still 37 ft offshore. He might make it to shallow water. Or not!!!!

A Shark vs the World’s Fastest Swimmer

Again we will assume that the swimmer is 30m ( 100 ft) offshore when he sees the shark fin 250m (820 ft) away. But this time we will have the world’s fastest swimmer. This time we are talking Dav Holmes vs Shark!!!!!!!!!

5 shark attack Maths mathspig

If world champion swimmer Dav starts swimming when he saw the shark 820 ft (250 m) away, he would swim 163 ft (49.6 m) before the shark attacked. He would easily make it to shore before an attack. Dav would be swimming on sand.

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