19 December 2012
With the summer arriving and many more flocking to our coastlines, people are reminded to be careful if encountering a great white shark while in a small vessel or sea kayak.
DPTI’s Director Transport Safety Regulation Trent Rusby said while the chances of encountering a great white shark are rare, they can increase at certain times of the year and in certain areas of the State.
In South Australia, large sharks have been observed more frequently in inshore areas between September and January, particularly along the west coast and in upper gulf waters.
“As the weather heats up, sharks are more likely to be sighted and we are advising small boat owners in particular to take care around sharks.”
“There have been significant reports of sharks threatening small vessels and it is important to remind people to remain cautious and aware of any dangers that the sharks may pose.”
Mr Rusby said smaller boats and kayaks can be capsized by larger sharks and pose significant safety risks for those on board, so it’s best to be cautious.
“Sharks can be a risk to boaters and due to their large size can cause boats and small vessels to capsize, so we ask everyone to remain as watchful as possible when sightings occur and to report any sightings as soon as they can,” he said.
There are a few tips to take onboard before heading out into the water:
• if you encounter a shark near to your vessel, carefully remove any bait lines from the water that may unnecessarily be attracting the shark
• if a shark comes near to your vessel be sure to minimise movement within the vessel that may impact on the stability of the vessel
• maintain a low centre of gravity within the vessel until the shark moves on.
Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA), in conjunction with other government agencies established a shark response plan, providing a quick response to sightings and any threat to human life.
Yorke Peninsula fisherman, Eric Stacey said sharks are instinctive hunters of the sea and we must remember we are in their natural habitat.
“Occasionally, people and sharks do find themselves in the same place at the same time. Being aware and understanding what can happen is of the utmost importance,” Mr Stacey said.
“Being on South Australian waters for most of my life, I’ve had many encounters with great white sharks – I know exactly what it feels like to be up close with these animals.”
“I’ve seen firsthand the importance of remaining calm, being prepared and following some key tips to reduce the potential for something devastating to occur.”
Video of Eric's encounter with a great white near Point Turton can be seen below.
The community is encouraged to report any shark sighting.
When reporting sharks it is important to note the size of the shark, species and the approximate location so the proper authorities can be alerted.
Any shark sightings, where the shark poses an immediate danger to human life should be reported immediately to SA Police on 000.
Sightings of large sharks that do not pose a threat to human life can be reported to PIRSA’s FISHWATCH hotline on 1800 065 522.