Galeophobia: Irrationality at Work

by: Davis Yancy Clegg

A day at the beach


We’ve reached that part of the year. While grinding away in our cubicles and spinning around unproductively in our office chairs daydreaming, the most common destination of said daydreams is a hazy memory of the beach. For many, it’s almost like winning the lottery when they get a chance to visit their favorite sandy spot. It makes sense. Vacation is all about relaxation. With the private sector basically trademarking the sound of waves crashing, the most relaxing sound to the human ear has been programmed into alarm clocks and overhead speakers in the majority of spas across the globe. We are subconsciously programmed to yearn for the place where the sand meets the water. While the sounds of the ocean are quite relaxing, many learn that the inhabitants of the ocean have been known to cause us humans a fairly enormous amount of both stress, and debilitating pain. What is the biggest fear of ocean waders?

The danger of Shark AttacsThanks to the undeniably brilliant work of Steven Spielberg, “Jaws” changed the way that the entire world population would view the ocean’s wide array of shark species. 42 years have passed since the release of the directors’ epic thriller, and most tourists still harness an irrational phobia of being bitten by a shark.

The Florida Museum of Natural History – in response to the phenomenon of wide spread of Galeophobia – began administering The International Shark Attack File. The file is a research effort that compiles shark attack investigations, dating back to the sixteenth century. From the beginning of the International Shark Attack File to present day, there have been over 6500 investigations into victim’s cases. Wouldn’t it be amazing to crack open that archive and make a nice coffee table book? Yea, not going to happen friends. The documented data kept within the attack records are accessed only by researchers, and reviewed by scientists cooperating with the efforts of the administrators of the ISAF. The only way to gain access and authorized use of any photographs on record is if there are to be used strictly as scientific research in an organized and academically recognized medical discussion. All things considered, the research shows that Galeophobia is one of the most unwarranted fears anyone should host in their mind. There are far more unthinkable things that could happen to you that are – in fact – 100 to 1000 times more likely. The odds of an amateur golfer (which is about 99.7 percent of golfers worldwide) making a hole in one on a par three is 1 out of 12,500. The likelihood of Earth being struck by an asteroid – 1 in 75,000. “Threats from space are far more common than threats from sharks (NASA).” The odds of you being struck by lightning in the United States are 94 in 1,000,000. So, how do these crazily uncommon events stack up against shark attack chances? Try 1 out of every 1.6 million. That’s right. You are over 100 times more likely to be struck down by Zeus than to be bitten by a shark. In fact, the sharks have far more to fear from our actions than we have to fear from theirs. Think about it. Til next time, “Just keep swimming!” – Dory

Yup there was a sighting of a white shark in the area. But no need to panic our boats are safe. Hop on one of our fun and relaxing river cruises. (continue…)



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