Seashore Official Cautions Beachgoers to Stay Shark Smart

Great white shark off Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. Photo credit: Pam King

WELLFLEET – An official with the Cape Cod National Seashore is advising people on the Cape to stay Shark Smart this summer and to know the risks when entering the water. 

“The sharks are here and how we recreate in the water, if we choose to do so, we want to do it to be as Shark Smart as possible,” Superintendent for the Seashore Brian Carlstrom said in a recent Sunday Journal interview.

Shark Smart tips include being aware when in the water, staying close to the shore, not going in the water alone, and avoiding areas where seals are present.

Other safety advice Carlstrom mentioned was to stay clear of murky areas of water where visibility is low and to follow all lifeguard instructions and safety signage.

Carlstrom compared sharks to predators at other national parks like grizzly bears at Yellowstone, but he highlighted a reason why the Cape is different than other locations.

“Recreation use patterns evolved in the absence of the sharks. The sharks are here because the gray seals have come back,” he said.

Carlstrom said research conducted by the Center for Coastal Studies that utilized censor buoys indicated sharks in the area are spending about half of their time near seal haul outs in 15 feet of water or less.

When asked if the possibility of a real-time shark tracking alert system could be realistic in the future, Carlstrom replied that not all sharks can be tagged.

“In terms of a definitive safety net that could be deployed, I think that’s highly unlikely we’re going to see that any time soon, if ever,” he said.

Carlstrom added that the conditions of the water are the most common danger people face when in the ocean.

The Seashore official advised anyone caught in a rip current to remain calm, to not fight the current, and to try to swim out of the current parallel to the shoreline.

Head to the National Seashore’s website to learn more about shark safety on the Cape.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter.

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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