(shark attack data updated)

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(click on above links for other great dive pages; double click on pictures to enlarge)
California Shark encounters thru 2013
(double click picture to enlarge)
click on above link to see how to tag a GWS


(click on above video to see headlines of the past)



(click on above video to see a memorial 

to Randy Fry)
(click on below link for shark quiz)




The below words were taken from the 

State of California, Department Of Fish 

Game, Marine Fisheries Branch, Fish 





Carcharodon carharias (Linnaeus)

Usually found in the open ocean. 

Cosmopolitan in temperate and tropical 

seas but rare off California. It is 

voracious and is known to have killed 

man: a man-eater was probably 

responsible for the only fatal attack 

recorded in California. A record 

specimen (Australia) was 36 1/2 feet

 long; the largest California specimen 

was reported to be about 32 feet long. 

Unauthorized name, great white shark...


(note...How 50 years has changed the above description...abaloneten)



(click on above link to read a great 

article relating to the GWS)


SHARK ATTACK CHARTS, PICTURES, and STATS follow written information.

(the three pictures below show a GWS having a snack at the Farallon Islands....these pictures were taken by Mike Grummell of Santa Rosa, CA..Mike is an avid photograper and diver)


The bench below is a tribute to Randy Fry who was killed by a Great White Shark in August 2004. The table is located on the bluffs above the site where Randy lost his life. The memorial table is located about 10 miles north of Ft. Bragg and 5 miles south of Westport. Randy did so much for diver's rights.....


 The California Predator was written by Eric Anderson in the early 90's and published in 1995. (ISBN 1-56901-588-0)  It is a short read (144 pages). The story is fictional based on true accounts. To order a signed copy ($10.00 for book and shipping to US) send email to  ...

       Eric Anderson presenting shark attack data to Gualala's Lions Club...(photo by Betty Bailey)

Diving in California’s Great White Shark (GWS) waters….by Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson holding jaws of a 9' GW caught in Tomales Bay in the 70's....Imagine what the size of a 20'er would look like.


            I’ve been diving California ocean waters for 45 years and have logged nearly 2000 dives, both SCUBA and free diving. During my many dives I have only seen one GWS; hopefully, I will not come across another.  Luckily, we were not on the menu that morning when we were free diving for halibut in Tomales Bay. However, I do feel fortunate to have seen the “eating machine” in a true scenario.  That summer morning in 1973 launched my interest in tracking and researching California shark attacks. My attack data comes from countless hours of research in numerous libraries scanning old newspapers for shark encounters. I’ve also read  many books on GWS attacks, and let me tell you there are many books out there on the subject. And, I use the web now and then to fill in the blanks…I have interviewed a few of the victims; the victims I have interviewed still dive too. Guts or insane? My attack counts do not coincide with some of the known experts because my modus operandi is a little different. For instance, myCalifornia stats have more attacks and deaths than the state and other experts. In short, I count MIA’s (victims not recovered) as deaths, and, I count an attack without an injury as an attack. My theory is, you don’t have to win a purple heart to have been in a battle. …Following are a few hints how to avoid being a shark attack victim. It’s worked for me for 45 years.


  1. Always dive with a partner. More eyes may help in spotting a fin if the shark is just cruising and not in attack mode. If you haven’t seen the GWS  and the attack is in progress there’s no defense against the mighty predator. In attack mode the GWS accelerates to 25 miles per hour. Even a quick turn by the victim is useless. The shark will follow the movement without visual…(GWS sensor…lorenzini ampullae at end of snout) *Also, a partner may be able to save your life if you are attacked by pulling you to safety…
  2. If possible keep near a dense kelp forest. My records indicate there has never been an attack inside a kelp forest. Grant you, a thick kelp forest isn’t always available. Even hugging against a large rock may help screw up the GWS’s sensors.
  3. Avoid open water. This is the GWS’s favorite feeding area.  Also, the average hit, attack, or mistake occurs in 15’ of open water.
  4. When abalone diving kick rhythmically.  In short, do not splash like a wounded animal in the water. GWS’s lateral lines can pick up any movement that is abnormal. (lateral line…another sensor)
  5.  Know where and when the GWS visits certain areas. For instance, most GWS attacks take place in California in August and September. Check my stats below for more on this subject.
  6. Don’t laggard behind others when kayaking or diving. The GWS will hit the first prey encountered; this may be the slowest kayaker in the group.
  7. Don’t dive or kayak around a dead seal, sea lion, or whale that is floating in the water. The scent of a dead animal in the water can travel a long distance, and that scent rings the dinner bell for the GWS.   (another sensor…smell)
  8. Avoid making loud noises in the water. The GWS has excellent hearing and will travel in the direction of the sound. (hearing…another sensor)
  9. Murky water only helps the GWS, so try and dive in clear water. Most of the time this is impossible on the north coast. The GWS has excellent vision and can see you in 50’ or more of water. 
  10. If a diver is so paranoid about the GWS they should stay out of the water. Shark shields and other protection may (not proven) help avoid an attack while spear fishing in open water, however, on the north coast it would be cumbersome and confusing to use.

  * My shark attack data is continually being updated. The charts below include the recent attack that took the life of Lucas Ransom on 10/22/2010.


               double click image to enlarge



The top  poster displays all of the shark attacks reported in California through 2006.  The categorized stats are depicted by the following: county, red triangle, activity, and fatal.

My accumulated data indicates the number one activity prior to shark attack is diving. This includes SCUBA, hookah, and free diving. Surfing is the number two activity, followed by swimming and kayaking. The last few years of attack data indicate that surfing may soon be overtaking diving as the most "sharky" sport. Diving attacks are dropping  a little because abalone diving is no longer legal in San Mateo county and sea urchin diving has declined. My records indicate the three top counties for attacks are Marin, San Mateo, and Sonoma. My fatal attack counts are not the same as the experts accounts because I use  different criteria for counting. I believe my total accounts are not the same as theirs either. My attack data comes from many years of library research, newspapers, and from interviews with some of the victims. Thank God for the web.

There are ways to lessen the chances of an attack. In August, September, and October shark encounters surge. During these months, keep your eyes wide open and stay out of areas that are shark hot spots. Most active divers and surfers know the hot spots. Also, stay near kelp, as hits in kelp beds are nil. The most important tip of all; position your dive partners on the outside of you, and always dive or paddle with a partner that swims or paddles slower than you.

The second poster  displays the weapons and sensors a great white possess. We must realize the ocean is the great white's dining room, therefore, we need to be aware during their breakfast, lunch, and dinner time.

The last three graphs display mistakes by years, month, and activity.


The above picture was taken at Dillon Beach in the 70's....The GWS was very active in Tomales Bay in the 70's and 80's.


This is an aerial photo of Tomales Bay more commonly referred to as the north end of the Red Triangle. To the middle of the right side of this picture is a small rock named Bird Rock, and below is a picture of Bird Rock that was taken from shore. This rock is probably the most dangerous rock in the world if you are diving for abalone.



The above map indicates the dates of the shark attacks in the Tomales Bay area.

WARNING: Avoid this area when diving for abalone..... 

( above data and pics are property and copyrighted by eanderson) on link below and read the latest news about the "shark shield.",25197,23300091-30417,00.html