Sharks in Miami

I own an Advancedframe from Advanced Elements, it’s a 10’5" inflatable kayak and I love it.

I kayak in the intercoastal waters of Miami and I have seen a few small sharks around there. Should I be worried about a shark attack?

How often do sharks attack kayaks?

I don’t know about a small inflateable,
but I have been paddling the Keys for years and I find that they are afraid of regular sea kayaks.

The largest one I have ever seen was about six years ago and it was as long as my kayak and was just cruising. It was on the outside of Elliot Key which is just south of you, and about nine miles off of Biscayne National Park. It came between my wife’s and my kayak and was about five or six feet from either of us.

When It was directly between us it took off like a torpedo, and I had the feeling that we are what scared it.

Another time we had a six or seven footer check us both out and then swim off.

Most of them are small and take off as soon as you get close to them.

I would feel more unsafe on the streets of Miami than out on the water.

Maybe Scupper Frank who lives and paddles down there will chime in with his thoughts.



Post Your Picture, Jack
You should post a link to the shark you caught.


Almost all the dangerous ones…

Work for the auto dealerships…

Now alligators, we are rethinking…

If you are not fishing.
Then sharks are not a problem. Most of the places where alligators are not fed alligators are only a problem in the spring. stay away from boat ramps because fishermen often clean their catch at the ramp and the guts go to the gators so gators thinkn people = food.

My real consern is that you fell in love with an inflateble before you paddled it. It did that once and wasted more money than I care to discuss. If they won’t let you try one and return it, then DO NOT BUY an infatable.

If you are near NC I’ll let you try my inflatable and if you like itb you can buy it for very much less than I paid, but you won’t like it unless it is not windy or choppy and you weigh less than 140#

Alligators & fresh water sharks
I didn’t realize until yesterday that Bull Sharks can be found far upstream in some fresh water rivers. That was something that had never occured to me. I’ve snorkeled with several different kinds of sharks off the FL keys, and the only time I was ever really scared, (terrified, actually), was when some Bull sharks got in a feeding frenzy near the 7 mi. bridge and I had to climb out of the water onto one of the bridge supports to get out of there.

Anyway, of greater concern to me currently are alligators. Over the Easter weekend we went down to the coast, and were going to do some inland paddling at Orton pond. But, when we got there, the sheer number of alligators frightened us from putting in the water. Seeing the 3-4footers, I was still cool with going in, but then seeing a 10 footer chase one of the 4 footers away, we elected not to put the boat in. Oddly, there was a pair of wood ducks swimming blissfully through the alligator infested waters, seemingly without a care that they would’ve made easy meals.

Now, I’m pretty sure that as long as we stayed in the boat, we’d be OK. But, my girlfriend has reoccuring nightmares about getting mauled by a bear/eaten by a shark/eaten by an alligator etc. I’ve shown her the data that indicate only ~350 alligator/human maimings with ~18 deaths in FL since 1948. And no amount of logic can seem to convince her that we wouldn’t tip over and become alligator food.

Has anybody here got anything beyond the annecdotal, about paddling with gators? Is there a FAQ somewhere on paddler/gator/shark interactions?


– Last Updated: May-16-06 8:15 AM EST –

OK in a duckie.

The fish don't know whether you're paddling a balloon or not, they just know that 10-1/2 feet is pretty big compared to most of them. And for many of them, might (and size) makes right. You glide over them in a boat, they for the most part spook at the shadow.

As many have noted, most -even large critters -spook. Jack tells of the time he took a "corrugated ride" in his Q up in mid-State (FL) when a big gator needed to skedaddle away from him... Only problem was, he was between said reptile and the escape...! I belive Jack counted the spinal ridge bumps as it acrambled away below him...

Grayhawk's pithy synopsis pretty well encapsulates the way many of us are now looking at gators, tho'...

Can't tell you anything much about big sharks in a yak, thoogh. I've seen a hammerhead -interesting and scary, from a distance, diving in the Keys a number of years ago, and a bull - downright pit-of-stomach bone-chilling scary - about a 6-footer swimming maybe 40-50' away in Key West -in the water... with ME! I kept on telling myself, in the latter case, get back to the boat, get out of the water, just keep it nice and slow and rythmic along the way... Y'know, like keeping the kick rate down to about 4-5X/second, breathing rate down to maybe 3X/second. That 100 yards back to the boat was the damned longest swim I ever took in my life... *L*

But ON the water? I've been over seveal species, -mostly nurse sharks, but also some lemons, some blacktips, some unidentified others -and all have either spooked or lazily swum on along or swum off.

So I'd say your pretty safe, there.

But try to avoid pilings and other coral-, barnacle-, or sea urchin-studded places. THEY might not take a liking to your boat should you get blown/surfed into some, and deflate your paddling day.

And I'm pretty sure a deflated duckie is no fun to


-Frank in Miami

Don’t show this to your girlfriend.
Interesting enough, two separate stories regarding alligator attacks in Florida w/n the past week. One turned out well, the other did not:

3 FL gator fatalities in one week
Duse, it’s actually worse than that. Incredibly, there’ve been 3 alligator related fatalities in FL just in the past week. This must set some kind of record, because prior to this, there were only 18 in the past 58 years.,0,1048850.story?page=1&coll=sfla-home-headlines

That said, I’ve done a lot of Googling looking for incidents involving paddlers and gators, and haven’t found much of any real evidence that suggests that they pose all that much of a threat. It might seem illogical, but it looks like you’re FAR more at risk driving to the paddle spot, than at risk from gators and sharks. GF will never believe that emotionally, even though I think she understands it intellectually.

I know a guy here in the gulf who was fishing from a sit-on-top. He had some dead fish in his boat that were bleeding. He felt a bump from underneath and it was a shark trying to get his fish. The guy said he took of for the shore and the shark followed him all the way to the beach! Just dont let any fish bleed in your boat and you should be ok.


– Last Updated: May-16-06 1:15 PM EST –

A discussion follow-up in this morning's Miami Herald notes that in all likelihood, the woman killed in Sunrise (west of Ft. Lauderdale) was on an inclined bridge embankment under or close to being beneath the bridge, probably very close to the watr, and may have even been dangling her feet in the water.

The article went on to state that gators have poor eyesight UW, and had the woman been dangling her white feet just over, or perhaps even in the dark(er) water -while perhaps even idly swinging them, it very well may have proved the recipe for disaster. Blind-in-one-eye gator who may have trouble competing for food anyway sees such motion, vwa-lah...

It also noted that -with respect to the woman who was taken in Central Florida while swimming/snorkeling, whose mother said discounted the threats because the woman had apparently done this many times in the past -gators will often mistake the head of a person swimming as a separate entity, like a duck or such, and go after it, and when finding out the quarry is significantly larger than initially anticipated, later letting go .

Or not...

Perhaps -but in these (up till yesterday afternoon -when we had one heckuva real Palmetto pounder, Downtown drowner, and swamp stomper) as yet still VERY dry Florida times in conjunction with the apparent cusp of gator mating season, brings gators into closer contact with humans who love surrounding their homes with water features, and so not only invites -but demands -caution around said reptile's watery habitats.

But the good thing about all this is that apparently, paddlecraft are perceived as large objects generally not to be messed with... perhaps even be frightened by (Jack's example, above)... ...unless you're encroaching upon a nest and don't retreat when mom says "back off".

It's probably still pretty safe to, in most areas around Florida, to


Frank in Miami

Good post Frank
and hopefully these incidents won’t discourage people from exploring the “Real Florida” and discovering and watching the natural wonders that it has to offer.



next week
I am flying down to FT Lauderdale and hope to meet up with Greyak and BrazilBrazil…don’t know if time will allow me to paddle or not, but as long as they loan me their gear, I will be happy to paddle with the sharks or gators. That being said, however, I will not be so inclined to practice rolling much without at least one “lookout” and those rolls will probably be executed with a fast-sweeping blade!

I just don’t want the “underwater hunters” to participate in upside-down bobbing for apples on my head!

But then if I know these two Greenland paddlers, at least one will have a deck-mounted Inuit harpoon!!



The Real Florida?
You mean Disney World?

No water in her lungs

– Last Updated: May-16-06 12:10 PM EST –

If she was that close, dangling her feet, she'd have been dragged in - and some water would have been inhaled during even a brief struggle.

All reports so far say the Sunrise woman was killed on land. Very rare type of gator attack - and a bit suspect.

Why would a young woman be on an embankment under a brigde around dusk?

A relatively attractive girl in her 20's, who regularly jogs near Sunset in an area very near major highway access... Sounds more tempting for a different sort of predator.

Initial reports said foul play was not ruled out. Then the full on shift from the ME to the dry land attack story. Dry because she had no water in her lungs - which means she was not alive when she hit the water. The gator had two arms in its gut. So let me see if I have this right? It ripped off her arms on land and she bled to death before it dragged the into the canal? Photos of the area and her remains should pretty easily rule out that scenario. More likely it found her floating and spun the arms off in the water after she was dead.

More stinks here than just the body of the victim and a few gators.

Anyone seen a timeline on how long between when she went jogging and when the body was found?

Maybe they still suspect something else - and are sticking with the gator angle so as to not spook a perp before they can catch him?

Too much TV?

AND they were repoting…
there was no blood found on land… strange…

Maybe the gator strangled her and then dragged her into the water…

Or hit her with a Duke lacrosse stick(?) ?

practice incentive’…


About the same motivation to -sometimes just a wee tad more quickly -to


-Frank in Miami

…you might be right on the keeping things low ubtil, Gteyak. And the phantom lacrosse sticks might just stick, this time around, Grayhawk.

Lord knows we have enough strangeness in our major urban areas, gators notwithstanding, to go around twice. Plausible hypothesis, KB, not too much TV.

Besides, between your boats, building, and all the rest, you don’t have enough time for it because of the amount of time


-Frank in Miami