Have you ever wondered what to do if you encounter a shark while swimming in the ocean? This old Air Force training video that recently went viral on Reddit has some pretty wild suggestions for what to do in that exact scenario. The clip really speaks for itself, but to learn more about the video and what you actually should do during a shark attack, keep reading below.
This nearly 60-year-old Air Force training video is hilarious perfection from start to finish. The clip begins with a dire warning read in a classic 1960s newscaster voice. “This shark and his relatives are long-established enemies of man,” says the video’s narrator. “He is a wicked, unpredictable opponent.”
Throughout the video, the narrator shares some less-than-scientific advice on what to do if you encounter a shark. The advice includes measures such as screaming into the water, blowing bubbles toward the shark, and ripping up paper to drop into the ocean.
You can view the 90-second video on Reddit. Or, for even more fun, check out the full 11-minute version on the National Archives website.
At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss this video as a relic of a long past decade (albeit a hilarious one). But then you may start to wonder, would any of this actually work during a shark encounter? Could this video one day save your life?
Unsurprisingly, most of the information shared in the training video doesn’t hold up against today’s scientific knowledge of sharks. Shouting into the ocean, blowing bubbles, slapping the water, and throwing paper scraps into the sea will not scare away a shark. If anything, these actions may be more interesting than scary to a shark. Sharks are naturally curious and highly cautious; they’ll investigate the occurrence if they don’t think it’s a threat. If nothing else, the methods in the video may temporarily distract a shark—but they likely won’t save your life.
Shark attacks are incredibly rare; in 2021, there were only 73 unprovoked and 39 provoked shark bites confirmed worldwide.
But in case you do find yourself in shark-infested waters, here’s what experts actually recommend:
- Don’t panic or splash around, as this could pique the shark’s curiosity.
- Maintain eye contact with the shark.
- If the shark seems ready to attack, try to make yourself appear larger.
- If the shark seems to be just passing by, try to curl into a ball and make yourself as small as possible.
- Don’t play dead; punch, kick, and hit sensitive spots like the gills or nose.
- If possible, back away slowly into shallow waters, making as little movement in the water as possible.
Sharks are a very common fear—even for 1960s Air Force pilots. In most cases, you’ll never encounter a shark attack out in the wild. But if you do, absolutely do not listen to the advice in this 1960s Air Force training video.