Jaws was the first movie that I remember seeing in a movie theater. I saw it in the Summer of 1975 when I was only 6 years old. Since then, like pretty much everyone else that has seen the film, I've had an irrational fear of swimming in the ocean.

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It's gotten better, the fear of sharks, in my 46 years since. I used to be worried when I swam in rivers and ponds too, but that has morphed into a fear of turtles biting my toes off instead of a Great White munching my entire leg.

I watched Jaws again this weekend and I know the movie was shot on nearby Martha's Vineyard back in the day. It started me thinking about shark attacks and if they've ever happened here in Connecticut. I found the answer and it turns out that my 46-year fear of swimming at Hammonasset, Rocky Neck, and even Misquamicut has been totally unwarranted.

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There have been only three documented shark attacks along the Connecticut shoreline since 1890. In 132 years, only three attacks have been recorded and none of them were fatal. According to sharkattackdata.com, the first documented shark attack in Connecticut occurred on August 2, 1890 when Raymond Odell suffered severe lacerations to his left arm in the waters off of Bridgeport / Fairfield after he was bitten by a shark while he was digging for clams.

The second documented shark attack in Connecticut history happened on August 26, 1933. Helen Clark was bitten on her foot while swimming in the Mystic River.

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The last, most recent shark attack occurred near the Eames Monument of Bridgeport's Seaside Park on August 24, 1960. 38-year-old Clyde Trudeau suffered a superficial laceration to his left arm after being bitten by a shark while he was free diving. All three incidents have been classified as unprovoked.

Think about all of the millions of humans that have been in the salt water along Connecticut's coastline since 1890. Three have encountered a shark close enough to do some damage. Based on the odds, I'd say stay away from swimming near Bridgeport, in this case, two out of three is bad.

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