Kauai’s Hanalei Bay Closes, Reopens After Tiger Shark Attack

Feb 6, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Hanalei Bay on the Hawaiian island of Kauai was closed to swimmers for 24 hours following an alleged tiger shark attack Monday.

According to the Kauai Fire Department, an unnamed off-duty firefighter was surfing in an area of the Hanalei Bay called “the bowl” when he was bitten by a tiger shark estimated to be about 13 feet long. The man sustained multiple deep lacerations to his leg and was transported to the hospital where he is recovering, according to the fire department.

“When we were going over there, there was like blood in the water and I was like ‘Oh, God,’” said Chas Weimar, a local witness who helped rescue the victim. “He was weirdly calm about this. We were more freaked out about it than him.” Weimar and Kea Dwight helped pull the victim into the boat and got him to help on shore. “He put the tourniquet on himself, and he was breathing and stuff,” Dwight said.

Following the attack, lifeguards posted “Shark Sighted” and “No Swimming” signs along Hanalei Bay and notified Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources of the incident, following standard protocol. The bay was reopened Tuesday afternoon after authorities reassessed the conditions and deemed the water safe, although beachgoers should be extra-cautious since sharks are more prevalent in the area at this time of year.

While the idea of a shark attack is terrifying, the average swimmer’s chance of falling victim is extremely low. On average, only 80 unprovoked shark attacks occur worldwide each year, a staggeringly low statistic compared to the millions of people who enter the water. As a point of comparison, you are more likely to die in a plane crash (1 in 11 million) than you are to be attacked by a shark (1 in 11.5 million), and even less likely to die in a shark attack (less than 1 in 264.1 million).

In order to further decrease your chances of a shark attack, the Florida Museum of Natural History suggests swimmers take the following precautions:

  • Avoid swimming during twilight or hours of darkness, as this is feeding time for sharks.
  • Swim in groups whenever possible, as sharks are more likely to attack lone individuals, mistaking them for prey.
  • Similarly, don’t wander too far from shore.
  • Do not enter the water if you’re bleeding from an open wound or during menstruation, since sharks are highly sensitive to the smell of blood.
  • Avoid shiny jewelry or other metallic reflective accents, since they can look like fish scales — a sign of prey for sharks.
  • Avoid excessive splashing, since this attracts shark attention and mimics vulnerable behavior of injured prey.
  • Do not harass sharks or enter the water when they are clearly present.

If you do find yourself approached by a shark, a proactive response is ideal, as sharks respect size and power, according to the Florida Museum. Hitting the shark on the nose, ideally with an inanimate object, is a deterrent action that usually results in the shark temporarily pausing its attack. Try to get out of the water as quickly as possible; if this isn’t possible, repeated blows to the snout may be effective, although the result becomes increasingly less so with time. If the shark actually bites you, try clawing at its eyes and gills, which are sensitive areas for sharks.

In worst-case scenarios, certain credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer emergency medical coverage and evacuation insurance. If you know for certain that you will be in potentially dangerous waters, it might make sense to purchase an independent travel insurance plan.

Featured photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.