Are There Any Sharks At Moreton Island?


Moreton Island

Moreton Island is a popular destination for a relaxing beach vacation. It is a sand island that boasts picturesque tropical waters and beautiful beaches but is only a stone’s throw away from Brisbane. However, you may have seen reports of shark attacks at Moreton Island, so are many sharks there? 

There are sharks at Moreton Island, primarily Great White Sharks and bull sharks. However, it’s rare for swimmers or snorkelers to encounter them, but you should still exercise caution and not venture further than very shallow waters.

Read further to find out if it’s safe to swim at Moreton Island and if so, discover some helpful shark safety tips. 

Is Swimming Safe On Moreton Island? 

In the previous section, I mentioned that there are sharks on Moreton Island. Does this mean that swimming isn’t safe on Moreton Island? 

Swimming is safe on Moreton Island, but it doesn’t have shark nets or patrols. Great White Sharks sometimes swim around the shallow waters, but this is typically at dawn or dusk when hunting. The island’s strong currents are more dangerous than the sharks.

According to the Queensland GovernmentOpens in a new tab., sharks live in the ocean surrounding Queensland. The most popular Queensland surfing beaches have shark netsOpens in a new tab., flags, and patrols to keep the sharks at bay and indicate where it’s safe to swim or surf. Moreton Island doesn’t have these shark safety measures, so you should not venture far into the water. 

Despite this, shark attacks around Moreton Island are incredibly rare. To put the likelihood of a shark attack at Moreton Island into perspective, there have been 237 fatal shark attacks off the entire Australian coastline between 1791 and 2018. The Australian coast is just over 16,000 miles long (25,760 km), and Moreton Island comprises only 36 miles (58 km). 

According to the Australian Shark-Incident DatabaseOpens in a new tab., since 1853, there have only been a handful of shark incidents off Moreton Island and in the Moreton Bay area. 

There have been five shark incidents in the ocean surrounding Moreton Bay in the following years: 

  • 1853
  • 1890
  • 1909
  • 1947
  • 1959

In 1977, two people were attacked by a Great White Shark near Moreton Island when their launch was damaged by a freighter, and they had to float to the shore with the help of their icebox. 

The last official report of a shark attack at Moreton Island was in 1992 while someone was surfing off North Point BeachOpens in a new tab..

Considering that only 30% of shark attacks are fatal and the low probability of one happening, your journey to Moreton Island is more dangerous. 

These statistics should give you the peace of mind that although the danger of a shark attack exists at Moreton Island, the chances are tiny, especially if you exercise caution.

Strong currents occur around Moreton Island’s beaches, which should be more of a concern to you than the sharks. Moreton Island doesn’t have lifeguards, so you should look out for unusually calm, murky, or foamy water, as these could indicate rip tides. 

Great white shark
Great White Shark

What Are Some Shark Safety Tips For Moreton Island? 

Shark attacks are incredibly rare off Moreton Island, but it’s never guaranteed that the waters don’t have sharks. How can you remain safe from a shark attack at Moreton Island? 

Some shark safety tips for Moreton Island include avoiding:

  • Swimming at sunrise or sunset
  • Swimming alone
  • Swimming with a wound or around large fish schools
  • Excessive splashing
  • Swimming where other creatures are behaving strangely

Let’s discover below how these shark safety tips can help you on Moreton Island: 

  • Don’t swim at sunrise or sunset. Most sharks hunt at sunrise or sunset, so avoid swimming or water activities at these times. Bull sharks, however, sometimes hunt during the day, so always stick to water as close to the shore as possible. 
  • Avoid swimming alone. Swimming or snorkelling with a group is safer because others could alert you to the presence of sharks or call 000 for help in the unlikely event that you get bitten. 
  • Don’t swim with a wound or around large fish schools. Sharks are attracted to the smell of blood and can smell it from a long distance. They also actively seek out large fish schools as prey, so avoid swimming around lots of fish.  
  • Avoid excessive splashing. Sharks are curious creatures and will investigate excessive splashing in the water. With this in mind, consider avoiding swimming with your dog or young children in the Moreton Island waters. 
  • Don’t swim where other creatures are behaving strangely. You can sometimes spot dolphins and turtles swimming near Moreton Island. If you notice them acting strangely, take heed because they may be afraid of a nearby shark.  

Shark-Free Places To Swim On Moreton Island

Swimming in the ocean around Moreton Island is safe, as long as you bear the above-mentioned shark safety precautions in mind. But what if you don’t want to risk swimming in the ocean? Are there other good freshwater places to swim on Moreton Island? 

There are shark-free places to swim on Moreton Island, including: 

  • Blue Lagoon 
  • Honeyeater Lake
  • Freshwater Creek Lagoon
  • Dolphin Lake 
  • Honeyeater Lake
  • Blue Lake 
  • Champagne Pools
  • Lake Samsonvale
  • Burleigh Lake 

Blue Lagoon is the largest freshwater lake on Moreton Island, but many others offer a peaceful and refreshing swimming experience. 

The lakes’ temperature is usually much colder than the ocean. If swimming in icy water doesn’t sound like fun to you, luckily, there are many other activities to try on Moreton Island. 

Here are some activity ideas that don’t involve exposing yourself to sharks or cold water: 

  • Boat trips around the island or on one of the lakes
  • Hiking to explore the area
  • Four-wheel driving
  • Whale or birdwatching
  • Sand surfing over the dunes

Conclusion

Swimming in the ocean around Moreton Island is safe, as long as you stick to the shallowest water possible and avoid swimming at sunrise or sunset when sharks usually hunt. 

There have only been a few reported shark attacks in the past century near Moreton Island, and the more pressing danger is the strong currents that sometimes occur in the nearby water.

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The website is run by myself Daniel Clarke, I’m lucky enough to have been living in Hervey Bay, for 29 years so I’m classed as a local I have seen many changes over this time.

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