Five Ways to Gear Up For Shark Week

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Billabong’s Jaws Bathing Suit

It’s baaack. The 26th Annual “Shark Week” kicks off in less than a month on the Discovery Channel. The network will air its yearly extravaganza of shark programs for a week beginning on Aug. 4. This year Shark Week promises to be an even bigger affair than it was last year, as Discovery is adding three more shark-related programs to its lineup than it featured in 2012. Included in the 11 Shark Week episodes are sensationally-named shows such as “I Escaped Jaws,” “Voodoo Sharks” and “Sharkpocalypse.” If you can’t wait until August to see sharks take a bite out of seals, surfers and the occasional surfboard, gear up for the event with this roundup of five things you can do to get into the Shark Week spirit.

Wear Shark-Themed Gear

Billabong’s bathing suit featuring a closeup of Jaws’ pie hole will have you longing to wear a one-piece again. But if swimsuits aren’t your thing, try this unisex “Jaws” tee from NBC Universal. Its worn look will earn you serious shark cred with anyone who mistakes the shirt for real vintage. For more a feminine look, try this women’s Jaws T-Shirt from the Joystick Junkies. If you prefer shark-free threads, consider accessorizing with Etsy’s eclectic mix of shark-themed jewelry. Lastly, no Shark Week would be complete without a fake shark fin to wear at your next  pool party. But, please, don’t try this at the beach.

Shark Snacks and Drinks

If you’re planning on throwing a Shark Week party, be sure to buy some shark-themed beverages and treats for the occasion. There’s Land Shark Lager, complete with a shark fin on the bottle. And what better way to open the brew than with a shark-shaped bottle opener available at the Discovery Channel Store? For munchies, try Betty Crocker’s fruit-flavored Shark Bites.

We don’t recommend eating real shark. After all, tens of millions of sharks die every year because of hunters looking to profit from sales of fins. The demand for shark fins has resulted in the extinction of several shark species, prompting the state of California to recently ban the sale of anything made from shark fins. That includes the Chinese delicacy shark fin soup, which can cost hundreds of dollars, according to National Geographic.

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Photo by Joi Ito/Flickr.com

Watch Films About Sharks

There are loads of movies about sharks besides the Spielberg classic “Jaws.” Watch the film “Sharkwater,” which counters the idea that sharks are bloodthirsty man-eaters. There’s also “Soul Surfer,” a film based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack and learned to surf without the limb. And if you’re into B movies, everyone is going crazy over Syfy’s “Sharknado” in which a tornado propels sharks out of the ocean and onto the streets of Los Angeles.

Visit a Shark at the Aquarium

There’s no reason you must resign yourself to watching sharks exclusively on television. Aquariums across the country have shark displays, most famously the Georgia Aquarium, home to the whale shark. In addition, you can feed buckets of seafood to sharks in California’s Aquarium of the Bay, swim with sharks at New York’s Long Island Aquarium and dive with them at Tampa’s Florida Aquarium, to name a few. So go ahead and get up close and personal with a shark – if you dare.

Save The Sharks!

If you’re a true shark lover you can do more to help sharks than swearing off shark fin soup, which, admit it, you likely never ate anyway. Get involved with a group such as Saving Sharks and Oceana to find out clear steps you can take to prevent sharks from becoming extinct. Oceana has a petition on its website asking the National Marine Fisheries Service to take action against shark finning.

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