Sharks In Florida: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Sharks In Florida?

Sharks In Florida

Florida waters are home to over forty shark species and have some of the biggest concentrations of various shark species in the world. There are sharks present all year round in the state which makes Florida the best place to dive with sharks. 

As the temperature of the Florida waters around the coast is around 80 °F throughout the summer. Making the water consistently warm near the coastal areas of Florida with small changes in temperatures from each beach. Thus, this makes Florida an ideal all-year-round spot for sharks.

Types Of Sharks In Florida

A few Sharks that are seen from time to time in Florida waters are Sandbar Shark, Reef Shark, Black Tip Shark, Mako Shark, Dusky Shark, and Silky Shark.  Here is a list of a few frequently seen shark species in Florida. 

  • Tiger Shark

They are the largest in Florida waters weighing above 850-1300 lbs and reaching over 10-14 feet. Tiger sharks can be seen both along oceanic offshore and shallow reef waters. They hunt and scavenge many prey such as fish, squid, birds, whales, sea turtles, and dolphins.

  • Great Hammerhead Shark

Great Hammerheads are the biggest sharks, that can reach over 13 feet long. Only a few spots in the world have these sharks and Florida is among them. Great Hammers prey on other sharks, fish, and stingrays.

  • Bull Shark

Bull Sharks are the most aggressive in Florida and also the most dangerous. They are in both inshore and offshore water. These sharks are heavy-bodied that are seen in packs. Bull Sharks can range from 7-11 feet and weigh above 200-500 pounds.

  • Scalloped Hammerhead

They are big sharks that are between 6′ to 10 feet. Florida is home to these sharks as they can consistently be seen. Scalloped Hammers are quick and can rotate on a dime. They scavenge on stingrays, fish, and smaller sharks.

  • Lemon Shark

Lemon Sharks are the most abundant sharks in Florida, that prefer inshore waters. They are mostly seen on shallow flats and reefs on the Gulf Stream. These sharks are docile but are capable of huge bursts of aggression and speed. 

  • Sandbar shark

Sandbar Sharks are the most commonly spotted sharks in Florida waters. They are a huge inshore shark species but can also be seen offshore occasionally in deeper waters. 

These sharks are known and built for power and speed. They are mostly found in packs. Sandbar Sharks have the biggest pectoral and dorsal fins. They mostly prey on squid, fish, and crustaceans.

Where Are Sharks Mostly Found In Florida?

Sharks In Florida

With sixty-seven counties in Florida, sharks are mostly found in Volusia, Pinellas, Miami-Dade, St. Lucie, and Martin. A few beaches where the count of sharks are high is in Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach, Ponce Inlet, and the Florida Keys. New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County has the most number of reported shark attacks in Florida.

Also, Check Our Guide On Sharks In Cape Cod

How Common Are Sharks In Florida?

Sharks are present in habitats, including the beaches of Florida. There is no barrier for them to like and live in a place. 

Florida has the most significant concentration of shark species in the world. Sharks are present all year round, making the state very common to spot sharks in its coastal waters. 

Especially in summer and spring, sharks are very common on the northern shores. In Winter they move away from the shores to the southern coastal waters. Many shark species present in Florida do not move and prefer to stay all year round near the beaches.

Are Sharks A Problem In Florida?

So if we are sharing the ocean with sharks, there are going to be sometimes when sharks are close to people. But, this does not mean that they will be a problem to people, because sharks want to avoid humans as much as they want to dwell away from predators. 

For the time being, you will see avoidance manners from sharks when they see people in the water. Though a few attacks have happed in Florida, they have been mostly provoked attacks.

Shark Attacks In Florida? How many people have died from sharks in Florida?

Florida waters are home to over 40 shark species, but most of them not being a threat to humans. Sharks rarely bite people. In many sharks-humans interactions, the person doesn’t realize anything occurred. Shark attacks are rare, with most unseen interactions being the sharks glancing at you and leaving. 

Every year, there are less than 80 shark attacks in Florida. These attacks can be broken into unprovoked and provoked attacks. Provoked attacks involve humans beginning the interaction by trying to handle or provoking them. 

Unprovoked attacks are when shark bites without known motivation. In 2022, there were over 40 provoked attacks and 56 unprovoked attacks. Of those, only 10 were fatal.

Can You Keep Sharks In Florida?

The quick answer — perfectly legal to hunt sharks. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, anglers can catch and hold only one shark a day. If on a boat, then it’s two a day and a boat. 

If even over two people on a boat, then the shark limit is still only two sharks per vessel. Harvestable sharks, such as Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacknose, Blacktip, Bonnethead, Finetooth, Smooth dogfish, Florida smoothhound, Gulf smoothhound, Bull, Nurse, Spinner, Blue, Oceanic whitetip, Porbeagle, and Thresher.

Can You Swim With Sharks In Florida? 

Florida’s Shark Diving is the top shark diving spot as it offers an experience to spot huge numbers of sharks. You can see many sharks up close and get personal with these species in their natural habitat. 

It offers three different experiences namely Shark Diving Charter and Sharks Viewing Charter. A driving trip per person in Shark Diving Charter costs $195, Sharks Viewing Charter costs $95. You can go freediving or cage diving with sharks. 

Next is the Swim with Sharks in Discovery Cove, Orlando. You can swim with over 20 sharks, in the shark habitat for a personal shark session with expert Aquarists. You can go snorkeling to enjoy a deep-water, swimming with blacktip reef, zebra, nurse, and bonnethead sharks. This entire program will cost you $199, as you get a better understanding of the sharks and the care needed for them.

Can You Kill & Eat Sharks In Florida?

Shark fishing isn’t as common in the state these days as awareness has increased that apex predators are needed for a healthy ecosystem. Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacknose, Blacktip, Bonnethead, Finetooth, Smooth dogfish, Florida smoothhound, and Gulf smoothhound as the species that have no size limit. 

Species such as Bull, Nurse, Spinner, Blue, Oceanic Whitetip, Porbeagle, and Thresher must be over 54 inches. Hook and line only are allowed for harvesting sharks and cannot be harvested by a treble hook or other multiple hooks along with bait. Prohibited sharks must stay in water with gills immersed when fishing and prohibited sharks must be discharged without any delay.

It is legal to eat sharks in Florida, as there are no regulations that govern the consumption of sharks in the state. But the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages the variety of sharks that can be harvested for consumption. A few common species of sharks that can be consumed are the blacktip shark, the hammerhead shark, the bull shark, and the tiger shark.


And that was everything you need to know about the Sharks In Florida. I hope this article answered all your queries.

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