Dennis Officials Discuss Shark Safety Following Truro Attack

DENNIS – A Cape Cod town held an emergency meeting last week following the shark attack off a Truro beach.

Dennis Selectmen, Beach and Recreation Department officials, the Harbormaster and other residents discussed the increased presence of great white sharks in Cape Cod Bay and the current protocols and procedures to keep beachgoers in town safe.

Former selectman and charter boat captain Wayne Bergeron said there is an alarming increase in the number of sharks in the Bay and that they are getting more aggressive and charging at boats.

“A few years ago when it began occasionally we would lose a fish off a line, maybe once during the summer,” Bergeron said.

“Now it is happening four or five times a week that customers’ fish is just being taken.”

Bergeron is also concerned about the safety of visitors to bathing beaches and people swimming or paddleboarding near the jetty at Sesuit Harbor. He said sharks feed on menhaden which gather in that area.

“Simply putting up a sign that says there are sharks in the waters of Cape Cod Bay – be careful – probably doesn’t go far enough for the site specific problem at the end of the jetty when the menhaden are there,” Bergeron said.

Bergerson said that boaters can see the individual colors of umbrellas at the beach from where great whites are swimming in the bay.

Beach and Recreation Director Dustin Pineau said staff are trained to order swimmers out of the water if a shark is sighted and to quickly notify police, fire and the harbormaster.

If a shark sighting is confirmed, the beaches are closed to swimming for an hour and the harbormaster canvases the reported area to make sure the water is safe.

Harbormaster Dawson Farber said that the behavior of the sharks is not predictable and that they are not going away.

Farber said the town has looked into the feasibility of new technology including protective netting and high-tech buoys, along with drones and spotter helicopters to look for sharks.

Discussions during the meeting included not allowing people in the water near the jetty at Sesuit Harbor, providing shark warning flags to beach staff and installing more shark safety signage at beach entrances and lifeguard stands.

Following the meeting, the town posted shark safety tips on its website.

That posting can be found below.


The Town of Dennis closely monitors its waterways and beaches to maintain the highest level of public safety. There are natural hazards in the ocean that pose a potential risk to anyone swimming or boating and we make every effort possible to inform and educate the public of these hazards. Specifically, there has been a notable increase in recent years in the number of great white sharks frequenting the waters of Cape Cod. Numerous sightings of these animals by boaters and beachgoers on and around Dennis waters have been reported this season. While the risk of experiencing a physical encounter with a shark is statistically low, residents of and visitors to Dennis should exercise their best judgment and remember these important safety tips before swimming or boating:

  • Always swim in a group and do not wander too far from shore.
  • Avoid swimming at night, dawn or dusk when sharks tend to be most active.
  • Do not enter the water if you are bleeding.
  • Do not wear shiny jewelry.
  • Avoid waters where seals or fish are congregating or feeding.
  • Please report any sightings of or interactions with sharks in close proximity to shore to lifeguards or other Town staff:

                        Dennis Beaches Department (508)760-6159

                        Dennis Harbormaster Department (508)385-5555

                        Dennis Natural Resources Department (508)760-6123

                        Dennis Police Department (508)394-1313 or 911

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