We occasionally field the question as to whether there are shark in the Santa Rosa Sound. We are hard-pressed to find any information at all conducting Internet research. And to sum things up from the outset, you can feel perfectly safe swimming in the Sound.
You are far more likely to see dolphin and fish jumping in the water than in ever seeing a shark. In fact, as many times as we have been at the home over the past ten years we have never seen a shark in the Sound. Gaining a sense of the local geography is helpful toward understanding the local marine life.
In the above satellite image, you can see the location of our vacation homes (Seahorse Retreat & Palm Breeze Beach House). For twenty miles in either direction, the Sound is protected by one long barrier island. In fact, we couldn't zoom out far enough to give you a full sense of just how far the barrier islands continue.
At one end of the Sound is a small opening into the Gulf of Mexico just past Okaloosa Island as you cross over a bridge to Destin. The Choctawhatchee Bay is to the inland side. At the other end, past Pensacola Beach is another opening to the Gulf at Fort Pickens and opens to Pensacola Bay.
This barrier offers protection from the Gulf and back during the BP oil spill, our beach was not impacted by the spill as a result. You can see the Navarre Bridge that crosses over to Navarre Beach. Further down the beach is a place we recommend you visit, the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which is part of the National Park Service.
When you hear of a shark sighting or shark attack, chances are the sighting was on the Gulf side or at one of the two places where the Sound is open to the Gulf at Okaloosa Island or Pensacola Bay.
All that said, here are the facts. There have only been three reported shark attacks in Destin, Ft. Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island combined in the last 130 years. The International Shark Attack Association sites ZERO fatalities due to shark attacks in our county. You can find out more information at Okaloosa County Beach Safety web site at http://www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/ps/beach-safety.
Swim. Relax. Enjoy!