Researchers Remind Public of Shark Safety Tips after Viral Paddle Board Incident

HYANNIS – Local researchers are stressing shark safety after a video of a great white swimming within feet of a stand up paddle boarder off Nauset Beach went viral this weekend.

Great white sharks prey upon seals in the waters off Cape Cod and the South Shore, and while encounters with humans are rare they can happen.

President of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Cynthia Wigren says swimmers and paddle craft users should stay away from seals, stay in groups, avoid going in the water at dawn or dusk, limit splashing and remove shiny jewelry.

“A big thing is to pay attention to signs that are up at beaches, know the flag warning system and pay attention to lifeguards,” Wigren said.

The conservancy also recommends downloading its Sharktivity App.

The free app for iPhone and Android users which launched in 2016 provides information about shark sightings and detections. It also allows users to report their own sightings.

The conservancy is in the final year of a five-year white shark population study.

Wigren says the shark research season has been active and six great whites have been tagged by state shark expert Dr. Greg Skomal.

“As we move into August it definitely has been historically a busy month for research so we expect that number to climb,” she said.

Researchers will be out on the water multiple times per week through the end of October.

Last year 30 sharks were tagged during the season.

Wigren is not sure right now how the white shark research will move forward next year.

“We’re going to be looking at new projects and new studies that we are going to be working with Dr. Skomal on and funding and support the work,” she said.

Discussions are still ongoing on proposed studies.

“We’ll talk about priorities and funding and go forward from there,” Wigren said.

She said researchers will definitely be out on the water again next year.

“I’m not sure about the conservancy itself but certainly Dr. Skomal will be and we’ll be in a position to provide resources as we have in the past,” Wigren said.

A shark safety video can be found in the player below.


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