Ocean Ramsey’s life is centered around the sea. The daughter of a swimmer and a diver, Ramsey grew up in Hawaii and was introduced to the ocean at a young age and quickly developed a passion for snorkeling and later, diving.

At age 7, Ramsey encountered her first shark. With no preconceived notions, she didn’t experience the fear that many would upon encountering an apex predator up close. Instead, she was fascinated. The formative experience set the trajectory for her life’s work.

Today, Ramsey interacts with sharks on a daily basis. She has worked with over 32 different species around the world and devotes her time to shark research and conservation. She is also the co-founder of One Ocean, a Hawaii-based research and dive operation that takes visitors on pelagic free-diving tours where they have the opportunity to encounter sharks up close, in the wild.

With limited knowledge compounded by Hollywood portrayals of sharks as vicious predators, many people fear sharks and, in turn, the ocean. While sharks should certainly be respected, there is more to them than just a toothy grin a deadly bite. Here, Ramsey shares common misconceptions about sharks and the best practices for staying safe in the sea.

Swimming with Sharks Ocean Ramsay Hawaii great white sharks
Juan Oliphant @JuanSharks @OneOceanDiving

MEN’S JOURNAL: What are common misconceptions about sharks?
OCEAN RAMSAY: Common misconceptions are if you pee in the water, they’re going to track you down and go after you. If you have a cut, they’re going to smell it and go after you. If a shark sees you, it’s going to go after you. That they eat anything.

Obviously those things are not true. Sharks swim by people all day every day and they choose not to attack—we know that from tag data and drone footage. I swim with them all day, every day. And given the opportunity, if they can distinguish us from a natural prey item, and they’re not in a starved-type condition or they’re not competing with each other, they’re not going to go after us.

There are less than 10 human fatalities, globally, each year. On the other side, 70-100 million sharks are killed each year mostly just for their fins.

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Swimming with Sharks Ocean Ramsay Hawaii great white sharks