11 Apr 2011

Does Peeing in the Water Attract Sharks?

Comments Columnists, Featured, Josh Aggars, Surf FAQs

Does peeing in the ocean make it more likely for you to be attacked by a shark? This question has received a fair amount of attention over the years with some conflicting conclusions.

Many believe that having a cheeky whizz out in the great big blue will attract nothing more than the odd fish eager to enjoy the sudden temperature increase. Others argue, however, that a little harmless tinkle can lead to a World of pain. So who’s right?

Jaws

Let the truth out (hut hum)

So, you’ve been in the freezing cold water for a couple of hours and the constant swishing and swashing of the waves is giving your bladder a little tickle.

You consider not giving in to that little devil on your shoulder who keeps saying “do it, do it now, no one will notice, go on it will be warming” as the angel on the other shoulder preaches “you’re better than that young man” in a shrill voice.

But as you balance the conflicting arguments, judge the distance to the toilets and how annoying it will be to pull down the wetsuit down you finally take heed of the fact that you’re out in the sea where no one can judge you and it’s unlikely that you’ll get caught.

In a moment of bliss you sacrifice your land based decency for that quick feeling of warming glory and have to admit it feels good (I can see a lot of you nodding in agreement).

Beach closed shark attack

So where’s the downside?

If telling people that peeing in the sea attracted sharks then I would advise against it. However, there has never been any conclusive evidence to prove such a theory.

The idea seems to have originated from the fact that sharks hunt their prey through the scent of blood and urine. Therefore it could be argued that the scent of human pee could make them slightly curious.

Yes, maybe, but then how many surfers pee in their wetsuits in comparison to the number of recorded shark attacks each year? Well let’s just put it this way: 33 people died as a result of being attacked by dogs in 2010 in the US, compared with only 2 shark attack fatalities (source: International Shark Attack File).

All things considered you should be OK

These statistics should make people feel a little more comfortable when going with the flow, literally speaking. After all, if you’re already content enough to pee in the ocean then you’re probably as comfortable as it gets.

In short there are a host of other more important tips you should check out when trying to avoid sharks. Top of the list is staying out the water at sunset or sunrise, otherwise known as feeding time, or ensuring to surf in groups rather than alone.

Although if you’re still not convinced then my advice is to hold it in…and be massively uncomfortable all day in the water just so your golden angel on your shoulder won’t judge you!

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Comments

  1. Pat says:

    My advice: When you have to pee, ride one in to shallow water (say, waist-high) and let er loose as you very slowly walk back toward the lineup. Sharks do swim in shallow water, but odds are you won't see them this close to shore. And if so, well, you're that much closer to someone on the beach dragging your bleeding torso to sand.

  2. flipflopscity says:

    Indeed, good tip.