Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How do I find out when there has been a reported shark sighting?

Keep informed of the latest reported sighting by visiting the VicEmergency website or download the free app.

A shark sighting incident appears as a black and white shark icon. shark incident icon

If you are at the beach, always listen to the authorities. Lifesavers, Police, Fisheries Officers or Park Rangers may direct you if the beach is closed.

You can help to keep all Victorians informed by reporting shark sightings to the police by calling '000' or notifying lifesavers immediately if you are at a patrolled beach.

What should I do if I see a shark?

Have you seen a shark at a Victorian beach? Report it by following these steps.

How can I avoid being attacked by a shark?

The only definitive way to never be attacked by a shark is to never go swimming in the ocean. However, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of a shark attack, such as swimming at patrolled beaches, swimming between the flags and taking notice of your surroundings before entering the water. Click here to learn more about how to keep yourself safe in a shark's natural habitat.

Is it safe to go swimming at Victorian beaches?

There has not been a fatality due to shark attack in Victoria since 1987.

For the most part, Victoria's beaches are very safe to swim at as far as sharks are concerned. However, we've got some extra tips to help keep you safe next time you head to the beach.

Are there any Victorian beaches with shark nets?

Victoria has no beaches with shark nets, and this is for a number of reasons.

Firstly, given the rarity of shark attacks in Victoria, they haven't been deemed necessary.

The absence of aggressive species such as bull and tiger sharks that frequent shallow waters means there's a reduced need for these kinds of nets.

These nets can also be easily damaged by whales during their migration season, leading to safety issues for both beach goers and the whales themselves.

Lastly, there have been reports that have shown that shark nets mostly catch other species instead. In New South Wales, where shark nets are commonly used in the spring and summer months, it was found that of the 395 marine animals found in the nets in the 2018/19 season, only 23 were the targeted tiger, bull and great white sharks. The other 372 non-target animals included 86 smooth hammerhead sharks, 20 Australian cownose rays, five dolphins, and 15 turtles. Of the animals caught 238 died and 157 were released alive or their fate was unknown.

Are all sharks dangerous?

The overwhelming majority of shark species in Victoria are not aggressive under most circumstances.

Great white sharks are considered the most significant threat. Bull sharks and tiger sharks are a threat, but aren't usually found in Victorian waters.

Bronze whaler sharks are also considered a medium threat in Victoria due to their size, but there is only one confirmed record in Australia of a bronze whaler attack causing death.

Is the number of sharks in Victoria increasing?

There's no scientific evidence that the number of sharks in Victoria are increasing. However, increased media attention, surveillance and more people using the water have contributed to the impression that shark numbers have risen.

Is there an increase in the number of great white sharks off the Victorian coast?

Victorian data is inconclusive.

Are sharks coming closer to shore because their normal food is scarce?

Sharks tend to be very mobile and can travel large distances in search of prey. As there are no obstacles to them coming close to shore, there is always a small chance people may encounter sharks.

Do 'rogue' sharks exist?

The 'rogue' shark theory is frequently discussed, particularly in the media. Although it maintains a place in popular belief (thanks to the Jaws movies and similar stories), it is simply an unsubstantiated theory.

There is no evidence to suggest that a rogue shark has been involved in any shark incidents.

Is shark cage tourism allowed in Victoria?

Shark tourism ventures involve the use of a safety cage to protect swimmers or divers from sharks that are being attracted to the boat by burley or other food as part of the experience.

This type of activity is not allowed in Victoria.

It is also illegal for a person to use blood or offal in an attempt to take fish of any species, including sharks.