Orleans Officials Seeking New Rescue Boat Due to Shark Presence

ORLEANS – The increased presence of white sharks on the Outer Cape is prompting officials in Orleans to find new ways of conducting beach rescues.

Natural Resources Director Nate Sears and Fire Chief Anthony Pike discussed a proposal with selectmen recently to purchase a smaller inflatable rescue boat and trailer for Nauset Beach to allow for quick responses.

Sears said the regularity of white sharks feeding off the beach justifies the new approach to ocean rescues.

“No longer do I feel comfortable sending lifeguards considerable distances offshore to rescue persons in distress,” Sears said.

Sears said the current rescue boats are limited by inadequate, lengthy response times and increasingly unpredictable sandbars.

The 12-foot Zodiac boat would only weigh 172 pounds, which could be carried easily by just four people, and could be launched in moderate surf. It also has a shrouded for propeller for safety

“Our response times will be incredibly shortened because it is available down and at the beach and ready to go,” Sears said. “It will give us the ability not to have to ramp up some calls and involve [multiple] agencies to respond.”

The estimated costs for the vessel and custom trailer would be under $20,000.

Sears asked selectmen to expedite the acquisition to provide staff enough time to adequately train before the next summer season.

The request comes weeks after Nauset Beach was closed due to a white shark attacking a seal just feet from shore.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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