Yarmouth Selectmen Approve Shark Safety Signs at Beaches

YARMOUTH – Although white shark sightings are not as common in the Mid Cape area compared to the Outer Cape, the Town of Yarmouth is implementing safety measures.

The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a Natural Resources request to post signs at ten Yarmouth beaches that remind swimmers about the presence of sharks in local waters and provide safety tips.

“We are probably looking at posting these signs at the main entrances out onto the beach so as they pass, mainly going on to the beach, they’ll see these signs,” said Karl von Hone, the town’s Natural Resources Director.

The safety tips include avoid swimming alone, stay close to shore, avoid swimming at night, dawn and dusk, not to wear shiny jewelry, and avoid seals and schools of fish.

Beachgoers who spot a shark are asked to call 9-1-1 or Yarmouth Police.

“These signs are the ones being used in most communities,” von Hone said. “Same color scheme. Same wording, with just a different emergency number on the bottom.”

Town Administrator Daniel Knapik also endorsed the placement of the signs.

Knapik said the town has received media inquires from local outlets about what the town’s official policy is when it comes to white sharks.

“We’ve been monitoring it since last year and one of the reasons I wanted to bring this to you for a vote of endorsement was so that I could publicly speak on that topic when we get inquires again,” Knapik said.

Natural Resources field supervisor William Bonnetti said during the meeting that charter fishermen  in Cape Cod Bay have been reporting a large increase in shark activity.

He said reports of sharks biting the catch off the lines of fishermen are becoming a daily occurrence.

Von Hone said shark activity at Grays Beach, the only public beach on Cape Cod Bay in Yarmouth, is not likely because it is protected by tidal flats and sandbars that are difficult to navigate.

Von Hone said the presence of seals in Yarmouth waters is increasing in recent years.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.

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