shark 250

Australia’s most dangerous beaches for shark attacks

Beware when swimming at Byron, Ballina, Bondi and Bells.

Research shows there have been 488 unprovoked fatal shark attacks in Australia since 1988, and although most recorded attacks have occurred in New South Wales, the majority of fatalities transpired in Western Australia.

finder.com.au analysed data released by the Shark Research Institute's Global Shark Attack File, determining hotspot coastal locations around the country where hundreds of unprovoked shark attacks have occurred between 1988 and 2018.

In Australia, there has been an average of 16.3 shark attacks a year since 1988.

156 attacks took place off the coast of NSW, almost double the 83 attacks recorded in Queensland, which came in second.

Shark attack prevalence by Australian state since 1988 - 2018

StateAttacksFatal
New South Wales1567
Western Australia8118
Queensland839
South Australia2811
Victoria320
Tasmania52
Northern Territory60
Torres Strait10
Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands10
Total48847

Source: finder.com.au, www.sharkattackfile.net *Not all shark fatalities are recorded by State, and some are unaccounted for due to ocean locations.

The coast of Western Australian is the most deadly, with 18 fatal shark attacks. South Australia has the next deadliest coastline with 11 recorded fatalities, followed by Queensland (9), NSW (7) and Tasmania (2).

This means Western Australia accounts for 38% of the country's total shark-related fatalities.

Top 15 countries for unprovoked shark attacks from 1988-2018

Australia ranks second in the world for the number of shark attacks (488) behind the USA with a whopping 1,406 attacks since 2017.

While Medicare covers you if anything should happen on an Australian beach, if you're planning on surfing abroad - especially in any of these destinations - travel insurance for surfers with comprehensive (or unlimited) overseas medical and hospital expenses is strongly recommended.

CountryShark attacks
USA1,406
Australia488
South Africa225
Brazil98
Bahamas77
New Zealand52
Reunion52
New Caledonia34
Mexico31
Egypt21
Fiji21
Japan19
French Polynesia17
Spain17
Papua New Guinea13

Planning to surf or swim on your travels? Find travel insurance that covers both you and your board, shark deterrents that actually work and vehicle excess insurance to get you to and from the coast.

Compare your travel cover options online

Made a search before? Retrieve your search results

At least one destination is required
Both dates are required
Add more travellers
Enter the age of each traveller between 0 and 99

Enter a valid email address

At least one destination is required
Starting date is required
Add more travellers
Enter the age of each traveller between 0 and 99

Enter a valid email address

Type or Select your destination(s)

Popular Destinations

Americas
Asia
Europe
Pacific
Africa
Can't find your destination? Just type it in the box above.

We compare products from

By submitting this form, you agree to the finder.com.au Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.

Picture: Shutterstock

Peter Terlato

Peter has been a journalist for seven years. He's written extensively about travel, business, politics, technology and more recently, cryptocurrency.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site