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What happens when sharks swim too close to sailors on US aircraft carriers and ships

Written by Bruno Teles
Published 16/06/2024 às 14:02
What happens when sharks swim too close to sailors on US aircraft carriers and ships
Find out how US sailors deal with sharks swimming near their aircraft carriers and ships. Image: Nautical Defense/Disclosure

Find out how US sailors deal with sharks swimming near their aircraft carriers and ships.

United States sailors spend most of their time at sea on board ships. However, there are times when getting into the water is necessary, whether to train for emergencies or simply to relax. On these occasions, the United States Navy takes several measures to ensure the safety of sailors, especially from sharks.

During missions, United States naval forces sometimes have the opportunity to swim in the ocean, an event known as a “swim call.” These moments of swimming are invigorating and allow sailors to exercise. In August 2022, for example, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, docked in the Mediterranean Sea, was transformed into a makeshift water park, with sailors jumping and swimming in the warm water.

However, allowing sailors to swim in the sea also carries risks

If a shark approaches, the safety and operations of the ship could be in danger. To avoid problems, some sailors act as lookouts and lifeguards during these dives. These lookouts are armed with guns to fire into the water if a large shark is spotted.

In 2020, members of the United States Coast Guard, who were swimming in the Pacific, had a very close encounter with a six to eight foot long shark. A maritime inspection specialist, who was on guard, fired shots into the water, distracting the shark and allowing the swimmers to escape safely. Fortunately, the shark was not injured and swam away.

If a shark attack occurred and a person was seriously injured, a medevac helicopter (Medevac) could be called in to quickly take them to a hospital

In 2018, the Coast Guard in San Francisco managed to lift a man bitten by a shark from a moving boat into a flying helicopter, transporting him to Stanford University Medical Center for treatment.

The United States Coast Guard conducts rigorous training to prepare its members for rescues in emergencies such as shark bites, search and rescue operations, and natural disasters. In exercises like Cascadia Rising, the crew practices medical evacuations by simulating earthquake and tsunami scenarios, ensuring they are ready for any situation.

Sailors on United States aircraft carriers and ships face many challenges when entering at sea, including the risk of encounters with sharks. With constant vigilance and rigorous training, the United States Navy ensures that its sailors can swim safely and face any emergency that arises. These safety measures show the Navy's commitment to protecting its members while operating in the vast and unpredictable waters of the oceans.

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Bruno Teles

I talk about technology, innovation, oil and gas. I update daily about opportunities in the Brazilian market. Agenda suggestion? Send it to brunotelesredator@gmail.com

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