Marine officials say recent shark attacks in Florida have been accidental

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Recent shark attacks in Florida waters have people worried about staying safe.

Among the shark attacks are a 17 year-old who was bitten last month off the coast of Jacksonville. Two other people were hurt just days before, off the coast of South Melbourne Beach.

According to a local biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, getting bitten by a shark is highly unlikely.

"Shark attacks, overall, when you look at all the safety issues when you're going in the ocean, the chances of being attacked by the shark are among the lowest, among all the problems or issues you could have when going swimming," NOAA Biologist Dr. John Carlson said.

Dr. Carlson also gave us tips on avoiding shark encounters. "Generally don't try to swim at the time of the day, like dawn or dusk, when the light visibility is reduced. Same along the lines is try to avoid swimming in areas where the visibility of the water is very poor," he said.

He continues to say sharks aren't the only marine life to look out for.

"We call it the stingray shuffle. So when you're going in the water you shuffle your feet, don't take big steps because when you take big steps you step down the stingray can hit you with it's spine," Dr. Carlson said.

While learning about dangerous marine life is important, some fishermen say they haven't seen much danger at all.

"We haven't seen any sharks yet, but we're wanting too. We've caught small sharks in the past and that's kinda what we're trying to play around and fish for. Haven't seen any yet," Fisherman visiting from North Georgia Mike Cleghorn said.

One hammerhead, however, has been spotted.

"He's always coming from the beach, this way, I never see him going the other way and he's 20, 30 feet away from the pier and maybe 10 feet under and everybody's trying to catch him, he don't bite anything," Fisherman visiting from Alabama Fred Johnson said.

"He was in water that wasn't knee deep and this is an 8 or 10 footer," Local fisherman Tommy Coggins said.

Many fishermen say more sharks are expected to be seen in the summer.