NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD) -- As North Carolina continues to sweat underneath a sweltering heat wave, many will head to the coast to cool off.
So far this summer, at least three people have been bitten by sharks on the North Carolina coast.
Dr. Chuck Bangley, a researcher with the Smithsonian, said the average amount of bites off the NC coast is one to two per year, but there's no need for beachgoers to fear sharks.
"Some of the best advice that I can give is just be aware of your surroundings," Dr. Bangley said while speaking on what people should look for when it comes to sharks and being in the water. "Sharks are generally really good at what they do. They're capable of identifying things that are and are not on the menu."
For those who still fear going in the water, Bangley suggests looking out for the following:
- Keeping an eye on birds/fish: If you see birds diving or fish jumping, that could be a indicator that a larger predator, perhaps a shark, could be attempting to prey upon a school of fish.
- Avoid fishing areas and piers: Bangley said the smell of bait and a struggling fish can attract sharks.
- Look for clear water: Sharks can see better in clear water and will realize what is and is not food.
"99.9% of the time they are going to pass right by the person without the person even knowing," Bangley said. "If they actually were coming after us, you'd see bites happening more often. The fact that they are newsworthy is a sign of how rare they actually are."