Feared and respected by seafaring men, sharks continue to be a threat to seamen who have been forced to abandon ship, to downed airmen, and to the recreational swimmer.
Several means of shark protection have been devised, yet efforts fall short of total success. Numerous undersea research labs in the West Indies, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, California, Australia, Monaco, and South Africa are systematically collecting data. More than a score of top echelon scientists are striving to unlock the secrets that pertain to the life, habits, and temperament of these cannibalistic scavengers of the sea.
Certain species of shark, notably the 40-foot whale shark (Rhineodon typus), do not normally attack man. Next in size, the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), is similarly docile. The teeth of both are undeveloped and virtually unused. This is not to certify, however, that humans will not be seriously injured by the flapping of a ponderous tail; or by having a boat capsize as a mammoth shark comes up under a small craft merely to scratch its back.