How to avoid a shark attack: 12 tips from the government

Advice to prevent a shark attack this summer.
Advice to prevent a shark attack this summer. Marc Stapelberg

BEACHGOERS are being encouraged to be "SharkSmart" this summer and reduce the risk of shark attacks.

Department of Primary Industries' (DPI) Deputy Director General Fisheries, Dr Geoff Allan, said the campaign provided useful tips to minimise the risk of being in waters where sharks may be present.

"Sharks are a natural part of our environment, however a better awareness and understanding of sharks and their behaviour can help everyone enjoy the beach and reduce their risk of a shark encounter this summer," he said.

Dr Allan said drones would fly over North Coast beaches including Evans Head, Lighthouse Beach at Ballina and Lennox Head every day of the school holidays.

"A Shark Net Trial has commenced at five beaches on the NSW North Coast ... it's important to realise the nets do not create an enclosed area, nor do they provide a shark-proof barrier between beachgoers and sharks," he said.

"The DPI works with beach authorities, aerial surveillance contractors and NSW Police to do all we can to protect swimmers, surfers and other water users."

SharkSmart tips for swimmers and surfers

1. Tell an on-duty lifesaver or lifeguard if a shark is spotted near swimmers or surfers.

2. Don't swim too far from shore.

3. Swim in groups.

4. Avoid swimming and surfing when it's dark or during twilight hours

5. Avoid murky water, waters with known effluents or sewage

6. Avoid areas used by recreational or commercial fishers

7. Avoid areas with signs of baitfish or fish feeding activity; diving seabirds are a good indicator of fish activity

8. Do not rely on sightings of dolphins to indicate the absence of sharks; both often feed together on the same food

9. Be aware that sharks may be present between sandbars or near steep drop offs

10. Avoid swimming in canals, and swimming or surfing in river/harbour mouths

11. Avoid having pets in the water with you

12. Do not swim/surf near or interfere with shark nets.

For further information on SharkSmart visit: Download the SharkSmart app and follow @NSWSharkSmart on Twitter.

Topics:  ballina shark attack

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