Are There Sharks On Florida Beaches? (Infographic)

Florida is one of the most beautiful states in the United States. Famous for its incredible amusement and national parks, the “Sunshine State” is also home to some of the greatest beaches in the world, including renowned ones like Miami Beach. However, the state is also famous for another reason: shark attacks. But should this be a concern? Are there sharks on Florida beaches?

At least 45 species of shark have already been recorded in Florida. Also, the “Sunshine State” has the highest number of attacks on Earth and is considered the “shark bite capital of the world.” Even so, going to the ocean in Florida is safe, as the odds of dying in a shark incident are very low.

You have way more chances of dying hit by lightning than attacked by a shark. Even Fireworks kill more people than sharks. Of course, you can take some steps to improve your safety in the ocean, which you’ll learn how in this article.

In the following sections, you’ll find a nice infographic showing the most common sharks on Florida beaches, followed by a species guide. Finally, in the final chapter, you’ll find a complete database including all the shark attacks registered in Florida and how to reduce the risk of a shark incident.

To learn all about sharks on Florida beaches and how to avoid a shark attack, keep reading.

Sharks In Florida Beaches (Infographic)

Sharks In Florida Beaches (Infographic)

Related Article: Are There Sharks In Fort Lauderdale? (Detailed Guide)

Are There Sharks On Florida Beaches? (Species Guide)

Sharks are all over the oceans, and as there are no borders between the “7 seas”, marine life can move freely through the globe. However, in the same way as humans, animals have their personal and biological preferences, cold or warm climates, some food, and mating partners, all of which matter when choosing a place to live. With that in mind, it’s safe to say:

At least 45 species of shark have been recorded in Florida. However, there are no borders between the oceans, so other sharks may be passing or living near the Sunshine State’s coast. Of the registered species, 15 are common on Florida’s coast, from magnificent Hammerheads to ferocious Bull Sharks.

Building up a list of common species of marine life in a determined area is never easy, as this kind of list can change very fast. After extensive research on the subject of sharks in Florida, I’ve found out that the most common sharks on Florida beaches are:

  • Nurse Shark
  • Blacktip Shark
  • Tiger Shark
  • Great Hammerhead Shark
  • Bull Shark
  • Caribbean Reef Shark
  • Lemon Shark
  • Sandbar Shark
  • Silky Shark
  • Dusky Shark
  • Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
  • Smooth Hammerhead Shark
  • Whale Shark
  • Bonnethead Shark
  • Smalltooth Sawfish (Ray, not a shark)

Despite not being as common as the top fifteen, five other species are found in Florida that worth is mentioned as their presence seems to be growing in the area in the past years. They are the Shortfin Mako Shark, the Porbeagle, the Blue Shark, the ferocious Oceanic Whitetip Shark, and the feared and famous Great White Shark.

  • Shark Species In Florida Beaches: 45 (At Least)
  • Most Frequently Seen: Nurse Sharks
  • Most Dangerous/Aggressive Species: Bull Sharks / Tiger Shark / Great White Shark
  • Biggest Sharks Found In Florida: Whale Shark (largest species on Earth)

In the following table, you can check some nice scientific facts about the 15 most common sharks in Florida and the other five species of interest. Keep in mind that the Smalltooth Sawfish is not actually a shark but a ray. This species is common in Florida, especially in the winter. Unfortunately, according to SharkToursFl, this animal is critically endangered. Habitat loss seems to be the main cause, as it has driven these incredible animals near extinction.

SpeciesScientific NameMaximum SizeAggressiveness
Nurse SharkGinglymostoma cirratumUp to 4.2 m
(14 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Blacktip SharkCarcharhinus limbatusUp to 2 m
(6.5 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Tiger SharkGaleocerdo cuvierUp to 9 m
(29 ft)
Very Aggressive
(Extremely Dangerous)
Great Hammerhead SharkSphyrna mokarranUp to 6 m
(20 ft)
(Potentially Dangerous)
Bull SharkCarcharhinus leucasUp to 2.1 m
(6.8 ft)
Very Aggressive
(Extremely Dangerous)
Caribbean Reef SharkCarcharhinus pereziUp to 3 m
(10 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Poisonous To Eat)
Lemon SharkNegaprion brevirostrisUp to 3.7 m
(12.1 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Sandbar SharkCarcharhinus plumbeusUp to 2 m
(6.5 ft)
Not Aggressive
Silky SharkCarcharhinus falciformisUp to 3.5 m
(11.5 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Dusky SharkCarcharhinus obscurusUp to 3.6 m
(12 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Scalloped Hammerhead SharkSphyrna lewiniUp to 4 m
(13 ft)
(Potentially Dangerous)
Smooth Hammerhead SharkSphyrna zygaenaUp to 5 m
(16 ft)
(Potentially Dangerous)
Whale SharkRhincodon typusUp to 18 m!
(59 ft)
Not Aggressive
Bonnethead SharkSphyrna tiburoUp to 1.2 m
(4 ft)
Not Aggressive
Smalltooth Sawfish
(Ray, not a shark)
Pristis pectinataUp to 5 m
(16 ft)
(Potentially Dangerous)
Oceanic Whitetip SharkCarcharhinus longimanusUp to 4 m
(13 ft)
Very Aggressive
Shortfin Mako SharkIsurus oxyrinchusUp to 4 m
(13 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
PorbeagleLamna nasusUp to 3.5 m
(11.5 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Blue SharkPrionace glaucaUp to 4 m
(13 ft)
Not Aggressive
(Potentially Dangerous)
Great White SharkCarcharodon carchariasUp to 7 m
(23 ft)
Very Aggressive
(Extremely Dangerous)

The sharks described in the table above are more abundant in the area, but in the following list, you can see more species of these incredible creatures that can be eventually seen around Florida.

  • Sand Tiger Shark
  • Thresher Shark
  • Spinner Shark
  • Finetooth Shark
  • Blacknose Shark
  • Atlantic Sharpnose Shark
  • Smooth Dogfish
  • Spiny Dogfish
  • Atlantic Angel Shark
  • Basking Shark
  • Bigeye Sand Tiger Shark
  • Bigeye Sixgill Shark
  • Bignose Shark
  • Caribbean Sharpnose Shark
  • Galapagos Shark
  • Leopard Shark
  • Longfin Mako Shark
  • Narrowtooth Shark
  • Night Shark
  • Sharpnose Sevengill Shark
  • Sixgill Shark
  • Smalltail Shark
  • Bigeye Thresher Shark
  • Common Thresher Shark

Related Article: Are There Sharks In Delaware River? (Surprising Answer)

Shark Attacks In Florida Beaches

Florida is the world’s hotspot of shark incidents, and the main reason for it is Volusia County, the “shark bite capital of the world.” A region in Florida accounts for 10% of all shark attacks (ever!) in the world’s history. Or at least since institutes started to keep track of shark incidents.

According to ISAF, to this day, there are 3,292 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in the entire world, covering the period from the early 1500s to the present. International Shark Attack File (ISAF) is the world’s only scientifically documented, comprehensive database of all known shark attacks.

  • Unprovoked shark attacks in the World: 3292
  • Unprovoked shark attacks in the United States: 1563
  • Unprovoked shark attacks in Florida: 896
  • Unprovoked shark attacks in Volusia County: 337 (more than 10% of all attacks in the world).

Out of 3,292 unprovoked incidents, 1,563 occurred in the United States (the top 1 country in the world in shark incidents). The main reason for the high numbers in the US is the state of Florida, with 896 shark attacks registered. Out of 896, 337 were incidents in Volusia County. That means that more than 10% of all the confirmed unprovoked shark attacks took place in Volusia County.

Republic of South Africa258
New Zealand56
Source: ISAF

ISAF researchers did a stunning analytical job of extracting meaningful information from the more than 1,000 incidents registered in Florida. In addition, it resulted in some nice graphics showing relevant information, such as victim activity during unprovoked shark attacks in Florida, the percentage of species involved with unprovoked attacks in Florida, the number of incidents by time of day and month, and much more. You can check some of these graphics in the following section or the entire content.

Victim Activity During Unprovoked Shark Attacks in Florida by Decade

Are There Sharks On Florida Beaches?
Source: ISAF

Species Involved with Unprovoked Shark Attacks in Florida

Are There Sharks On Florida Beaches?
Source: ISAF

Requiem in this graphic relates to the family Carcharhinidae, including sharks like the Blacktip, Spinner, and the Sandbar. As they have a lot of similarities, such as tooth shape, body size, and appearance, it’s hard to assign, beyond doubt, a species to a bite case. Even so, ISAF suspects Blacktip Sharks account for the majority of these requiem bites in Florida.

Florida Shark Attacks by Month

Source: ISAF

Time of Unprovoked Shark Attacks in Florida

Source: ISAF

In the following table, I gathered all the GSAF incidents in Florida from 2020 to November 2022, as listing all the attacks would result in more than 1,200 entries. Even so, if you want to download the most reliable and updated list of all the incidents on Earth (and Florida), you can do so by clicking here. If not, you can take a quick look at the more recent data in the table below.

Incident DateIncident AreaIncident LocationVictim ActivityIncident TypeFatal? (Y/N)
10-Oct-2022FloridaKey Largo, Monroe CountyFishingProvokedN
13-Aug-2022FloridaLooe Key, Monroe CountySnorkelingUnprovokedN
27-Jul-2022FloridaFlorida Keys, Monroe CountyLobsteringUnprovokedN
25-Jul-2022FloridaDaytona Beach, Volusia CountyWadingUnprovokedN
19-Jul-2022FloridaCape Canaveral, Brevard County
17-Jul-2022FloridaContent Keys, Monroe CountyFishingProvokedN
16-Jul-2022FloridaDaytona Beach Shores, Volusia County
10-Jul-2022FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
03-Jul-2022FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
30-Jun-2022FloridaKeaton Beach,ScallopingUnprovokedN
29-Jun-2022FloridaSawyer Key , Monroe CountySwimmingUnprovokedN
29-Jun-2022FloridaSummerland Key, Monroe CountyJumped into waterUnprovokedN
23-Jun-2022FloridaRedington Beach, Pinellas County
17-Apr-2022FloridaWhale Harbor, Islamorada, Monroe County
11-Apr-2022FloridaHigkand Beach, Palm Beach CountyStandingUnprovokedN
07-Apr-2022FloridaCanaveral National SeashoreKayakingUnprovokedN
31-Mar-2022FloridaLake Worth Beach, Palm Beach CountyFishingProvokedn
13-Mar-2022FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
09-Mar-2022FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountyFishingProvokedN
11-Feb-2022FloridaCocoa Beach, Brevard  CountySurfingUnprovokedN
06-Jan-2022FloridaAnna Maria Island, Manatee CountyWing Foil SurfingUnprovokedN
22-Dec-2021FloridaAnna Maria Island, Manatee CountyWing Foil SurfingUnprovokedN
04-Oct-2021FloridaFort Pierce State Park, St. Lucie CountySurfingUnprovokedN
03-Oct-2021FloridaJensen Beach, Martin CountySwimmingUnprovokedN
09-Sep-2021FloridaPonce Inlet, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
21-Aug-2021FloridaWalton Beach Psrk, St. Lucie CountySurfingUnprovokedN
07-Aug-2021FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
07-Aug-2021FloridaKey Largo, Monroe CountySnorkelingUnprovokedN
30-Jul-2021FloridaPonce Inlet, Volusia CountyFishingProvokedN
21-Jul-2021FloridaNear Patrick AFB, Brevard County

15-Jul-2021FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountyBoogie boardingUnprovokedN
10-Jul-2021FloridaBathtub Beach, Martin CountyPlayingUnprovokedN
10-Jul-2021Florida46 miles off Mayport, Duval CountySpearfishingUnprovokedY
04-Jul-2021FloridaPonce Inlet, Volusia CountyStandingUnprovokedN
28-Jun-2021FloridaBlock Houe Beach, Brevard CountySurfingUnprovokedNq
18-Jun-2021FloridaBethune Beach, Volusia CountyStandingUnprovokedN
17-Jun-2021FloridaGrayton Beach State Park,   Walton CountySwimmingUnprovokedN
14-Jun-2021FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountyStandingUnprovokedN
14-Jun-2021FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountyStandingUnprovokedN
06-May-2021FloridaDaytona Beach Shores, Volusia CountyWadingUnprovokedN
30-Apr-2021FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
29-Apr-2021FloridaVero Beach, Indian River CountyBoggie boardingUnprovokedN
02-Apr-2021FloridaKey Biscayne, Miami-Dade CountySwimmingUnprovokedN
30-Mar-2021FloridaVero Beach, Indian River County
25-Mar-2021FloridaIndian River County
25-Mar-2021FloridaFort Lauderdale, Broward CountySwimmingUnprovokedN
21-Mar-2021FloridaMiami Beach, Miami-Dade CountyBody surfingUnprovokedN
18-Mar-2021FloridaJuno Beach, Palm Beach CountyWadingUnprovokedN
22-Jan-2021FloridaOff Tampa BayFishingWatercraftN
03-Jan-2021FloridaCocoa Beach, Brevard  CountySurfingUnprovokedN
02-Jan-2021FloridaCocoa Beach, Brevard  CountySurfingUnprovokedN
31-Oct-2020FloridaOrmond BeachSwimmingUnprovokedN
07-Oct-2020FloridaMiami Beach, Miami-Dade CountyBody SurfingUnprovokedN
29-Sep-2020FloridaNear Key Largo
20-Sep-2020FloridaSombero Key Light, Monroe CountySnorkelingUnprovokedN
16-Sep-2020FloridaDaytona Beach Shores, Volusia CountySwimming
15-Sep-2020FloridaPonce Inlet, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
15-Sep-2020FloridaMelbourne Beach, Brevard CountySurfingUnprovokedN
08-Sep-2020FloridaCanaveral National SeashoreSurf fishing
02-Sep-2020FloridaJensen Beach, Martin County
23-Aug-2020FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountyStandingUnprovokedN
22-Aug-2020FloridaSt. Augustine Beach, Anastasia Island, St. Johns CountySurfingUnprovokedN
20-Aug-2020FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountyBoogie boardingUnprovokedN
10-Aug-2020FloridaOff Gasparilla Island, Charlotte CountyFishingProvokedN
31-Jul-2020FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
29-Jul-2020FloridaFlorida KeysDivingUnprovokedN
23-Jul-2020FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountyStandingUnprovokedN
19-Jul-2020FloridaCocoa Beach, Brevard  CountyWadingUnprovokedN
14-Jul-2020FloridaMelbourne Beach, Brevard CountyWadingUnprovokedN
10-Jul-202FloridaCocoa Beach, Brevard  CountySurfingUnprovokedN
22-Jun-2020FloridaHomestead, Miami-Dade CountyPlayingUnprovokedN
07-Apr-2020FloridaCocoa Beach, Brevard  CountySurfingUnprovokedN
22-Mar-2020FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN
22-Mar-2020FloridaNew Smyrna Beach, Volusia CountySurfingUnprovokedN

Related Questions

Are sharks common on Florida beaches? Sharks are very common on Florida beaches, with at least 45 species confirmed. However, shark attacks are still rare. Despite Florida being the number one place in the number of shark incidents worldwide, the odds of dying in a shark attack are very low (1 in 4,332,817).

What part of Florida has the most sharks? Florida has already recorded 45 species of shark on its coast. The part of Florida with the most shark attacks is Volusia County, considered the “shark bite capital of the world.” The county is responsible for more than 10% of all shark attacks ever.

How close do sharks get to shore in Florida? Sharks get very close to the shore in Florida, but it’s usually not a problem. Despite the high number of shark attacks in the state compared to other places, the odds of dying attacked by a shark are way lower than dying by drowning or ever hit by lightning.

Do sharks attack in Florida? Sharks do attack in Florida, but the chances of being attacked are very low despite the high numbers and the region’s reputation. Most shark incidents worldwide occur in the Sunshine State, especially in Volusia County, considered the “shark bite capital of the world.”


André Bonassoli

What’s up guys. I’m André, and I've been passionate about Sharks for as long as I can remember! I’ve created this site to share different things with you that I’ve learned and am constantly learning. Whether you're just here with some simple questions or you're passionate about Sharks as well, I'm glad you're here!

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