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Friday, July 10, 2015 - 5:04pm

Sharks And Georgia's Coast: 5 Things You Need To Know

"Shark Week" is wrapping up - that ratings blitz for the Discovery Channel that's mushroomed into an annual celebration of all things shark. But this year along the Southeast Coast, sharks have been making their presence known - with serious consequences sometimes. There have been at least a dozen shark attacks in the Carolinas so far in 2015. National Geographic says the yearly average for the entire U.S. is 19 attacks, to put that in perspective. But for those of us who live or vacation on the Georgia coast, what does this mean? Mare Timmons, a marine biologist with the University of Georgia Marine Extension on Skidaway Island, shares her wisdom on sharks:

1. Stay away from piers. Sharks learn quickly that piers are places where people fish - and often throw fish back - and they may congregate in those areas.
2. Pay attention to instructions from lifeguards, safety warnings, and weather forecasts. It's common sense.
3. Don't swim alone. If something happens, you're better off with a friend who can call for help.
4. Don't go too far out. If you can't see and be seen, you could be in greater danger.
5. Don't swim after dark. See # 4.