It’s the 20th anniversary of the once-terrifying movie Jaws. If this classic has taught us one thing, it’s that great white sharks are absolutely horrifying.
There’s no duh-duh-dun music to give you a heads up that “Hey, there’s a 15-foot beast heading in your direction.” Skinny-dippers and divers must rely on keen eyesight and quick swimming to get away from the jaws of a great white. On the other hand, they could just avoid areas that are prone to sharks.
Here are three places you definitely don’t want to go swimming unless you want to get eaten this summer:
1. New Jersey
Jaws was set in a fictional town called Amity Island, off the coast of Cape Cod. However, inspiration for this horror-ridden community can be pinpointed to the Jersey Shore resort town of Beach Haven. In 1916, a great white shark devoured a man who was going for a late-night swim off Long Beach Island.
The same shark traveled 45 miles north to Spring Island, New England, and ate another guy just five days later. Unfortunately, real-life Jaws was still hungry. Shortly after, the now-notorious shark traveled 30 miles north from Spring Island and killed a young boy and the man who tried to rescue him.
As if that weren’t enough to scare the entire New England community already, real-life Jaws attacked a fifth victim less than 30 minutes later. This potential prey lived to tell the tale, but you might not be so lucky. Although the savage beast from 1916 is probably long gone by now, you never know if its offspring have the same killer instincts. You may want to avoid New Jersey anyway — just to be safe.
2. Volusia County, Florida
The beaches with the highest shark-attack rates in the state, New Smyrna Beach and Ponce de Leon Inlet, are nestled on the shores of Volusia County, Florida. Researchers argue that these higher attack rates are due to the greater number of beach-goers at these popular locales, but apparently the attacks aren’t enough to keep people from hanging around these destinations. In the entire state of Florida, there have been 717 recorded attacks with 11 fatalities.
3. North Carolina
You’ve probably seen the news headlines lately about shark attacks in North Carolina. There have been more than a half-dozen attacks in the state in the past three weeks alone. That’s about as many that happened in North Carolina the entire year of 2014. Those statistics are enough to keep even the biggest thrill-seekers away, unless of course you’re Captain Quint.
If you’re looking for a thrill this summer, just watch Jaws instead of venturing into these death traps. You’ll definitely reduce your risk of being eaten alive by a shark.