Are there sharks in Hawaii

Last Updated On October 31, 2022

Hawaii is a state which is famous for many adventurous activities, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, and sailing. But if you want to spend your vacation just sitting and chilling on the beach, Hawaii will be one of the best options since it carries a big event for its beaches because the shores are covered in sand with assorted colors like pink, red, green, and also black.

Talking about beaches in Hawaii, one of the problems that arise a lot is that there are sharks in Hawaii. Simply answering this question, yes, there are sharks on some islands in Hawaii. According to the statistics, the place that has the most sharks is Maui Island. The Makena point, which is located in Maui, has the highest number of shark sightings. 

beaches in hawaii

Photo by Troy Squillaci

Types of sharks in Hawaii

The variety of sharks that Hawaii has been home to is almost forty. The size of those sharks varies from really small ones of about 8 inches to enormous sharks of approximately 50 feet. The most commonly encountered sharks on Hawaii beaches are whitetip reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, sand bar sharks, tiger sharks, and scalloped hammerhead sharks. Among those species, Tiger sharks can be sighted more often compared to others. The most dangerous shark in the oceans, which is called the great white shark, also can be spotted in Hawaii but very rarely because they usually visit this area in colder months when the temperature drops below 75 Fahrenheit.

Tiger sharks

They are one of the most dangerous sharks in the world; in fact, in terms of size, Tiger sharks are only second to great white sharks. Usually, they grow up to 2 or 3 meters in length and weigh approximately 2000 pounds. Their feast is seals, birds, and dolphins. What makes the tiger shark a great predator is its well-developed sensory organs.

Over a Tiger Shark in Hawaii

Photo by Jeremy Lanfranchi on Unsplash 

Shark attacks in Hawaii

Although Hawaii is home to approximately 40 species of sharks, the number of shark attacks that are recorded on islands in Hawaii is really low. 116 shark attacks had been encountered since 1828, and only 8 of them were considered to be fatal. There are 2 or 3 attacks per year in Hawaii; however, they are not fatal accidents. But Hawaii is ranked as the 4th most dangerous place in the world in terms of shark attacks. The majority of those attacks are caused by tiger sharks due to they are very effective inshore predators, and according to the reports, the reason why they attack humans occasionally is that they mistake humans for ocean creatures that they usually rely on.

The places where most of the shark attacks were encountered are Maui and Oahu. In Maui, 51 cases have been reported for the last 20 years, and 5 cases of them were considered to be fatal. In Oahu, 29 attacks were reported, but no deaths were encountered.

Should you avoid diving in water due to the reported shark attacks

Of course not, there are so many people who engage in water activities, but they are not attacked by sharks. There are so many diets that sharks prefer more than humans. Usually, their feast is small fishes, octopuses, mollusks, and squid. Great white sharks that can be seen rarely on Hawaii beaches feed on other sharks also. You can safely dive, swim, or surf on Hawaiian beaches if you know the tips on how to avoid shark attacks.

Underwater diving in Maui, Hawaii, USA

Photo by Subtle Cinematics on Unsplash 

Essential tips to avoid a shark attack

1. Don’t go in the water at night

Usually, sharks are considered to go for hunts at night. You may think about how they can see through water at night when there is no sunlight. But the fact is that 2/3 of their brain is shaped for the sense of smell. Hence, they can do their hunting even when there is no light, or the water is unclear.

2. Do not enter the water with open wounds.

Even though humans are not sharks’ favorite meal, they do attract to the smell of blood. Furthermore, it is found that sharks can sense the scent of blood from over 1 mile away.

3. Do not wear shiny jewelry or shiny swimsuits.

The reflection of shiny clothes or jewelry can be mistaken as prey for sharks

4. Swim in groups

More than a group of people, Sharks prefer individuals to hunt down. And the fact that a bunch of people makes the shark more afraid of them reduces the risk of being bitten by a shark. The larger the group, the lower the risk will be.

5. Stay away from the murky water.

In murky water, it is difficult to identify a shark attack, but sharks can hunt in murky water without any difficulty due to their high sense of smell. So, after raining, do not try to enter the water as the water gets murky, and try to stay away as much as possible from river mouths and streamlines because sharks do hang around these areas due to the abundance of small fish. 

shark attacks in hawaii

In terms of shark attacks, Hawaii ranks as the 4th most dangerous place in the world. However, these attacks are rarely severe or fatal. Tiger sharks are considered aggressive to humans.