Endangered, Vulnerable, and Threatened Species

Are there sharks around Alcatraz?

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Answered 2012-01-09 20:40:36
  • It's a myth. There are only bottom feeding sharks in the waters. The dangerous part were the currents and the cold water and a person could be carried out by the current to the ocean if they weren't a strong enough swimmer.
  • Over 29 years 36 men were involved in 14 separate escapes. 23 were caught, 6 were shot and killed and 2 drowned. 5 prisoners did escape, but there was no proof they made it safe to shore and were listed as "missing and presumed drowned."


Well over 5,000 athletes a year successfully swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco. The key is to swim during "slack tide", when the currents are neither coming into the bay (flood tide) nor going out of the bay (ebb tide.) There are two men who have made the swim over 1,000 times apiece.

Most athletes wear wetsuits, but probably about a thousand do it without wetsuits. These athletes are acclimated by swimming in the bay almost daily. The water in the San Francisco by hovers around 50 degrees year-round... much too cold for most swimmers.

Recently, (2010) scientists who had tagged Great White Sharks at the Farallon Islands found that 7 of them entered the bay. However, there has never been a recorded shark attack in the San Francisco Bay.

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