National Seashore Officials Stress Safety after Lifeguards Leave

WELLFLEET – The summer season on the Cape may be winding down for families but visitors will continue to head to local beaches and Cape Cod National Seashore officials are stressing safety.

Seashore lifeguards end their season on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, at 5:30 p.m. and officials want to make sure that beachgoers are beach safe and shark smart.

“We want to remind people that there are dangerous rip tides and undertows and shore breaks that exist in the water off of our beaches,” said Leslie Reynolds, the Chief Ranger for the National Seashore.

White shark activity is expected to remain high for the next few months and officials are warning the public to stay close to shore, away from seals, and swim, paddle, kayak or surf in groups.

Beachgoers are also advised to stay out of the water at dawn or dusk.

Signs reminding the public that lifeguards are not on duty will be posted at the six National Seashore beaches. They will also include the water and shark safety information. Messages will also be posted on the National Seashore’s social media accounts.

“We’ll do our best through Facebook, social media, press releases and signage at the beach just to remind people that if they do recreate in the water there is an assumed risk,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the last risk assessment ultimately lies with the person entering the water.

“We hope that they’ve heard our message, they’ve done their research, they’ve read our signs at the beaches and they make an informed decision when they go into the water,” she said.

Reynolds said the summer season has been busy at the National Seashore.

“The weather has been great and the water temperature, I feel, has been warmer than in past years,” she said.

The beaches have seen an increase in great white shark activity. In normal summer seasons, shark sightings close to shore cause about a dozen beach closures. That number has doubled this year.

“We are up to 24 times that the lifeguards have had to close the water due to the presence of sharks,” Reynolds said.

When sharks are spotted the beaches are closed to swimming for an hour and a reopened when officials believe it is safe to do so.

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