Shark Attacks off the Carolina Attractions

Recorded Shark Attacks in the Carolinas

There have been 35 verified shark attacks recorded in North Carolina since 1870. Most of these attacks were from Bull sharks. A few were from black tip sharks. Most of these attacks occurred at Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach and Emerald Isle. South Carolina has had 43 verified shark attacks recorded over a 80 year span to 2002. Most of the attacks occurred at Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Folly Beach. The months with the most frequent occurrence of attacks were July and August. *

North Carolina Shark Attack Record *

date where died
July 1870 Southport no
1900 Ocracoke Inlet yes
1905 Ocracoke yes
July 1905 Beaufort yes
Sept 1935 New River yes
July 1940 Holden Beach no
Aug 1945 Ocracoke yes
July 1957 Atlantic Beach yes
Sept 1971 Emerald Isle no
Aug 1976 Emerald Isle no
Aug 1980 Ocean Isle no
Aug 1986 Masonboro Inlet no
Aug 1993 Pamlico Sound no
July 2000 Duck Hatteras no
July 2000 West Holden Beach no
July 2000 Wrightsville Beach no
Aug 2000 Emerald Isle no
Oct 2000 Wrightsville Beach no
Sept 2001 Avon yes
Sept 2001 Avon no
July 2002 Wrightsville Beach no
July 2002 Emerald Isle no
Aug 2002 Topsail Beach no

Dangerous Mouth of the Great White SharkThere were 8 shark attacks on the Carolina Coast in June 2015. No fatalities. However, limbs were lost. The first two shark attacks occurred in the Brunswick Islands, (Oak Island) within a few hours and a few miles of each other. All victims were in shallow water. It is thought that this shark was the same shark. Many sharks were seen gathering in the shallows along the coast of the Carolinas this summer. This was noted and speculations were drawn on why the sharks were coming so close to shore by experts in the fieldvand as well as news sources.

July 2011, a 6 year old girl was attack at Ocracoke Island. She was bitten in the leg and foot.

There were 5 shark attacks off the coast of NC in 2010. One at Wrightsville Beach occurred in July, where a 13 year old girl was bitten in the arm.

In Myrtle Beach, July 2010, a 10 year old boy was attacked and bitten in the leg.

Sept. 2009, fatal shark attack off the coast of NC near Kill Devil Hills.

The last fatal shark attack off Hilton Head SC was in 1883. Shark attacks average about 3 times a year in South Carolina.

In the summer of 2005, 3 shark attacks occurred at Myrtle Beach (2) and North Myrtle Beach (1). One of the attacks was from a Black Tip Shark. The first two shark attacks occurred in August within a week apart.

shark attack off the coast of Hilton head island in Beaufort County on Thursday, June 8, 2006 in 2 ft of water. victim was a 7 year girl from Missouri who suffered puncture wounds to her foot and buttocks. The injuries were not threatening.

Avoiding a Shark Attack

The chances of getting attacked by a shark are less than getting struck by lightening but it does happen. Take precautions. Most shark attacks occur in waist deep water. Most shark attack victims never see the shark either.

Do not swim at night or in the early morning or evening. Sharks feed at these times.

Do not swim alone or away from the crowd

Do not swim in dark areas of the ocean or in murky waters (cant see the bottom clearly).

Do not swim near a pier where people are fishing or where people are surf fishing. Lots of fisherman use cut bait to fish.

Do not swim if you have a cut or are on your menstrual period. Sharks can smell even a tiny amount of blood in water.

Do not swim with a pet especially a dog. Dogs attract sharks. Their bark sounds like a seal which are a shark's natural prey.

Do not swim with shiny objects like jewelry or sequins on a swimsuit. It looks like fish scales to a shark and attracts their attention.

Reference: link opens in new window

Schwartz, Frank J. Sharks, Skates, and Rays of the Carolinas, University of North Carolina Press (June 9, 2003)

Sharks found off the coast of Carolina

Suggested Resources

Great White Shark - a well written website on the Great White Shark, accounts of shark attacks, pictures and more information on the infamous Jaws.

Underwater times - records most every shark attack in the news, pictures, keeps current information as well as archives. Good resource.