So far this year seven people have been bitten by a shark off the coast of North Carolina.
Because of the unusually active season officials are stressing visitors be aware of their surroundings while in the water.
"We can never guarantee anyone's safety when they enter the waterm" Outer Banks National Park Service Superintendent David Hallac says. "The only way to be sure you do not encounter sharks or other marine wildlife that may be harmful to humans, is to stay out of the water."
The National Park Service says the following tips will reduce your chances of encountering a shark:
- Don't swim too far from shore
- Stay in groups because individuals are more likely to encounter a shark
- Avoid swimming near fishermen or in the vicinity of other aquatic activity like birds diving for fish or bait fish in the water
- Avoid swimming near fishing piers
- Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight because sharks are most active at these times
- Don't go into the water if bleeding from a wound because sharks have a very acute sense of smell
- Leave shiny objects at home because the reflected light resembles fish scales
- Avoid brightly colored swimwear because sharks see contrast particularly well
Officials say they do not know why there has been an increase in shark incidents but add shark encounters are rare.